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Pope’s trip to Iraq shows closeness to devastated Christians – Vatican

Pope Francis is traveling to Iraq to encourage the devastated Christian community in the country, said Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin. 

“The Holy Father is going to Iraq to show closeness to the Catholic Church, to the Christians,” said Parolin in an interview with Vatican News. “We know the church has suffered a lot during this year. It has lost many, many Christians who have left Iraq for other countries.”

Referring to the Catholic Church in Iraq, Parolin added, “She needs the presence of the Holy Father, the successor of Peter, just to be encouraged to continue her mission of witnessing to Jesus Christ and the Gospel in the difficult situation in which she finds herself.”

The cardinal also underscored that the papal visit to Iraq boosts the efforts which have already started to reconstruct the country.

These efforts, according to the cardinal, include fighting corruption and sectarianism and making sure that everyone is treated equally regardless of their religious belonging.

Parolin also mentioned that the papal visit to the Middle Eastern country is an event of interreligious dialogue, collaboration, understanding, and fraternity between Christians and Muslims “in view of the good of the country and its brighter future.”

Pope Francis’ historic 4-day journey to Iraq is the first papal visit to the country and is set to begin on Friday, March 5, when he will meet Christian communities and civil and religious leaders.

This trip will be Pope’s first trip outside Italy since November 2019 when he visited Thailand and Japan. – Rappler.com