Pope Francis says he will not cancel his trip to Iraq

Pope Francis says he will not cancel his trip to Iraq

Pope Francis will continue his three-day trip to Iraq. The pontiff said he cannot “disappoint a country (a people) a second time,” referring to a trip planned by Pope John Paul II that was later canceled.

Speaking at his weekly general audience on Wednesdays, Francis urged Catholics to pray for a successful trip.

“I ask you to accompany this apostolic journey with prayer, so that it unfolds in the best way and brings home the desired results. The Iraqi people await us. They had waited for Pope John Paul II, who was forbidden to go. We cannot disappoint a country (a people) a second time. Let’s pray that this trip goes well,” he said.

The trip, the pope’s first in 15 months since the coronavirus pandemic began, has been called into question over security concerns and the COVID-19 situation in Iraq.

On Wednesday, a rocket attack targeted al-Assad air base in western Anbar province, which is home to US, Iraqi and coalition forces.

“I have long wanted to meet the people who have suffered so much, to meet the martyred church, the land of Abraham along with other religious leaders. We will take another step in brotherhood among believers,” said Francisco.

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