News by email Donate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Pope Francis.JPG
World News

Pope says he is intent on making Iraq trip despite difficulties

by Reuters Journalist

Pope Francis said on Monday he is intent on making a trip to Iraq next month even if it means many Iraqi Christians won't be able to see him in person because of COVID-19 restrictions.

"I am the pastor of people who are suffering," he told Catholic New Service (CNS), the news outlet of the U.S. Bishops Conference.

Francis said it was important that "they will see the pope is there in their country" even if most would see him only on television because of social distancing requirements.

CNS said the 84-year-old pope intended to go ahead with the March 5-8 trip unless there is a serious new wave of coronavirus infection there.

The patriarch of Iraq's Chaldean Catholic Church said last week the pope would meet the country top Shi'ite Muslim cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

The visit, which eluded Francis' predecessors, takes place amid deteriorating security in some parts of Iraq and after the first big suicide bombing in Baghdad for three years.

CNS did not say if the pope discussed security during an audience granted to its Rome staff on the occasion of the agency's 100th anniversary.

Iraq has been home to Christian communities for centuries. Hundreds of thousands of Christians fled sectarian violence after the fall of Saddam Hussein or were driven out when Islamic State captured much of the north in 2014.

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email

Connect

Donate

Donate