Pope Francis Ready for Iraq Trip

‘One cannot disappoint a people for the second time’

pope francis iraq trip
© Vatican Media

Pope Francis made it clear he is ready for his upcoming trip to Iraq, noting that “One cannot disappoint a people for the second time.”

His remarks came during today’s General Audience broadcast from the Library of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.  And the reference to a second time recalled Saint John Paul II abandoned plan to visit Iraq in 1999 due to security concerns.

“The day after tomorrow, God willing, I will go to Iraq for a three-day pilgrimage,” Pope Francis said. “For a long time I have wanted to meet those people who have suffered so much; to meet that martyred Church in the land of Abraham. Together with the other religious leaders, we shall also take another step forward in brotherhood among believers.

“I ask you to accompany this apostolic journey with your prayers, so that it may unfold in the best possible way and bear the hoped-for fruits. The Iraqi people are waiting for us; they awaited Saint John Paul II, who was not permitted to go. One cannot disappoint a people for the second time. Let us pray that this journey will be a good one.”

The Vatican on March 2, released the updated program for the Holy Father’s apostolic journey to Iraq, March 5-8. 

Also available is a breakdown of the institutions and activities of the Church in Iraq.

“Pope Francis’ journey to Iraq,” Cardinal Leonardo Sandri says, “will certainly contribute to re-awaken the International Community’s awareness that Christians of the East, including the Iraqi, are not Christians that have arrived from outside: they are citizens of those lands since the origin; they love those lands, they preserve ancient traditions, languages, and dialects and truly desire the good of those countries.”

In an exclusive interview with Exaudi, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches and Sub-Dean of the College of Cardinals awaits with this certainty the Pope’s landing in Baghdad, for the first visit of a Pope to Iraq, from March 5-8. The first international papal journey, after the long months of the COVID pandemic, will be of interest not only to the country of destination: “this journey will question the whole of the International Community, on how it thinks of the Middle East today.”