Pope Francis defends trip to Iraq despite risk of injury: NPR


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Pope Francis will leave Iraq on Monday after his four-day visit to the country, the first for the Pope. President Biden said the Pope and his journey set an example for the whole world.

Khaled Mohammed / AFP


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Khaled Mohammed / AFP

Pope Francis will leave Iraq on Monday after his four-day visit to the country, the first for the Pope. President Biden said the Pope and his journey set an example for the whole world.

Khaled Mohammed / AFP

During his trip home from Iraq, Pope Francis admitted that he was happy to leave the Vatican for several days after feeling “imprisoned” during the COVID-19 lockdowns. The Pope also said he is not afraid of critics who do not support his decision to open a Christian-Muslim dialogue.

Before embarking on his journey, Francis was warned of contracting the Coronavirus or contributing to its spread, especially with the increase in cases in Iraq. To alleviate these fears, the Pope and his entourage were vaccinated before making the trip.

And although the Vatican has worked with local organizers to ensure adequate social distancing and consistent concealment, there have been multiple instances of crowds gathering very close and masks were rare at times, according to National Catholic Reporter.

Before leaving for Iraq, the 84-year-old Pope was locked up in the Vatican for 15 months. “After these months in prison, because I really felt like in prison, this is [trip] “For me, it’s like coming back to life,” said Francis.

While in Iraq, the Pope visited six cities and encouraged Christian-Muslim dialogue while encouraging the Christian community in the country. On Saturday, he met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, The highest Shiite reference in IraqShe won praise from President Biden.

“To see Pope Francis visiting ancient religious sites, including the birthplace of Ibrahim the Biblical, spending time with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in Najaf, and holding prayers in Mosul – a city that only a few years ago suffered from corruption and intolerance, Biden said in a statement.

While the trip was seen as inspiring to some, others felt that the Pope’s attempt to bridge Christian-Muslim relations was a betrayal of the religion. But Francis remains steadfast in his decision, essence mentioned. It is believed that it is important to be associated with other religions and their followers.

And the Pope said: “There are some critics who say that the Pope is not brave but unconscious, and that he is taking steps against the Catholic faith, and that he is one step away from heresy.” “These are risks, but these decisions are always taken through prayer, dialogue and asking for advice.”


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