Why Pope Francis Went to Iraq

Pope Francis, surrounded by shells of destroyed churches, attends a prayer for the victims of war at Hosh al-Bieaa Church Square, in Mosul, Iraq, March 7, 2021 (AP photo by Andrew Medichini).
Pope Francis, surrounded by shells of destroyed churches, attends a prayer for the victims of war at Hosh al-Bieaa Church Square, in Mosul, Iraq, March 7, 2021 (AP photo by Andrew Medichini).

Upon his arrival in Baghdad, Pope Francis said he had come as a “penitent pilgrim” begging for peace. It was a historic event in many ways—the first trip overseas for Francis himself and the first-ever papal visit to Iraq. Despite concerns that it would lead to a spike in COVID-19 cases, Francis said he had decided to proceed with the visit in order to bring comfort to and show solidarity with the country’s beleaguered Christian minority. This week on the Trend Lines podcast, WPR’s Elliot Waldman sat down with Joshua McElwee, the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, who […]

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