Utilizamos Cookies para mejorar la experiencia de usuario. Lee la política de privacidad
Categoría: Papa Francisco
pope francis visit iraq flight president pilgrim peace

Pope Francis to Iraq: I come as a penitent, asking forgiveness from heaven and from everyone for so much destruction and cruelty. I come as a pilgrim of peace

Pope arrives in Iraq to promote peace, tolerance and equality.

Baghdad, Iraq, March 5, 2021 - To consolidate peace and ensure progress, the government and people of Iraq must never treat anyone as a second-class citizen and must work every day to promote harmony, Pope Francis said. "Fraternal coexistence requires a patient and honest dialogue, protected by justice and respect for the law," Pope Francis said March 5, addressing Iraqi President Barham Salih, other government leaders and diplomats serving in Iraq.

The meeting with civic and cultural leaders at the presidential palace in Baghdad came shortly after Pope Francis landed in Iraq for his first foreign trip in 15 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although he, his entire entourage and the journalists traveling with him had been vaccinated against the coronavirus, they all wore masks during the four-hour flight from Rome.

[Pope Francis arrives in Iraq and greets civil authorities].

Briefly lowering his mask to address journalists, Pope Francis said he felt a "duty" to visit the Middle Eastern country, which had experienced so much death and turmoil since the 2003 invasion by a U.S.-led coalition. He again donned his mask to tour the plane and personally greet each member of the media.

Pope Francis held a brief meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi in a lounge at Baghdad airport before heading to the city under heavy security.

Outside the airport, in five or six large groups along the road, hundreds of Iraqis waved Vatican or Iraqi flags as the pope passed. Forced to use a bulletproof car, the pope drove to the presidential palace in a black BMW 750i; the sedan was flanked most of the way by security officials on motorcycles, but as the motorcade approached the palace, it was accompanied by officers on horseback.

The president welcomed Pope Francis as a "great and beloved guest," expressing gratitude that the pope would make the trip "despite recommendations to postpone the visit due to the exceptional circumstances the world is going through because of the pandemic and despite the difficult conditions our wounded nation is going through" with sporadic waves of violence.

Facing those dangers and visiting anyway "actually doubles the value of your visit in the eyes of Iraqis," the president told Pope Francis.

In his first speech of the trip, Pope Francis outlined themes expected to resonate throughout the March 5-8 visit: paying tribute to Christians martyred by Islamic militants over the past 20 years; insisting that belief in one God, the father of all, means that all people are brothers and sisters; encouraging a continued commitment to rebuilding the country´s physical and social fabric, including with international assistance; and condemning any resort to violence.

Repeating a phrase he used in a video message to the Iraqi people on the eve of his visit, Pope Francis told civic authorities, "I come as a penitent, asking forgiveness from heaven and from my brothers and sisters for so much destruction and cruelty. I come as a pilgrim of peace in the name of Christ, prince of peace."

"May the clash of arms be silenced! May their spread be curbed, here and everywhere," the Pope said. "May the voice of builders and peacemakers be heard! The voice of the humble, of the poor, of ordinary men and women who want to live, work and pray in peace."

"Let there be an end to acts of violence and extremism, factions and intolerance," Pope Francis urged. "May there be room for all those citizens who seek to cooperate in building this country through dialogue and frank, sincere and constructive discussion, citizens committed to reconciliation and willing, for the common good, to put aside their interests."

Pope Francis acknowledged how Iraqis have dedicated themselves to the difficult task of building a democracy. To make further progress toward that goal, he said, "it is essential to ensure the participation of all political, social and religious groups and to guarantee the fundamental rights of all citizens."

Indeed, the country´s dwindling Christian minority is not the only group that has been repeatedly denied its basic rights; Kurds, Yazidis and Mandaeans have suffered discrimination and even persecution. Under Saddam Hussein, even the Shiite Muslim majority was marginalized in many respects.

Although he was addressing secular leaders, Pope Francis could not fail to mention the special suffering of the Christian community, defend their rights and pledge that they too would use their talents and skills to build the nation. Condemning violence "based on a fundamentalism incapable of accepting the peaceful coexistence of different ethnic and religious groups," Pope Francis urged Iraqis to strive to be a model of dialogue and harmony for the rest of the region.

Salih told the pope that, too often in the modern world, "opposition and polarization" are the order of the day, and people, "especially in the East, are losing the habit of pluralism, diversity and accepting the opinion of the other." Such an attitude, he said, "increases terrorism and the incitement to violence, hatred and committing atrocities with pretexts that have nothing to do with the tolerant spirit of the divine message. This threatens our entire future."

Pope Francis agreed.

"Only if we learn to look beyond our differences and see each other as members of the same human family will we be able to begin an effective process of rebuilding and leave to future generations a better, more just and more humane world," he said. Religion, he insisted, "must be at the service of peace and fraternity.". The name of God cannot be used to justify acts of murder, exile, terrorism and oppression. On the contrary, God has created human beings in dignity and in right, he calls us to spread love, goodness and concord. "The Catholic Church, also in Iraq, wishes to be a friend of all, and through dialogue, to collaborate constructively with other religions for the cause of peace," was part of the message Pope Francis said at the conclusion. The full video of Pope Francis' address to the civil authorities during his visit to Iraq can be seen below.

Redacción: Qriswell Quero, PildorasdeFe.net | Con información de: Catholic News Service
Venezuelan, faithful husband and father of a family. Electronic engineer and missionary of the faith. Committed to the proclamation of the Gospel. Solid believer that there are always new beginnings. Whoever has God has nothing to stop him.
Support to Píldoras de Fe Our portal is sustained by your generosity and the mercy of God. Help us to reach more people. Donate now
Post your comments
Your comments matter. We invite you to leave your comments on this topic and your prayer requests. We read them continuously. (Please wait a moment for the comment system to load)




church cannot bless same sex unions blessing

The Church has no power to bless same-sex unions. They cannot be considered licit, according to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.