On a four-day trip, beginning on Friday, March 5th, Pope Francis visited Iraq, which may seem quite random as the state is still battling the Covid-19 pandemic; however, there are reasons for this erratic visit. In order to understand why the Pope visited Iraq, 3 key questions must be answered:
Key Questions to Consider (Word Count: 318 Read Time: 1min 30sec)
Where in Iraq did the Pope go?
Before Sunday, the Pope visited Mosul and Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shiite Muslims. On Sunday, the Pope visited Mosul’s multiple ruined churches that were once targeted by Islamic State (ISIS) militants to pray for the victims of the war against ISIS. Standing over the ruins that cost thousands of innocent lives, the Pope issued a very powerful statement:
Why did the Pope go?
“How cruel it is that this country, the cradle of civilization, should have been afflicted by so barbarous a blow, with ancient places of worship destroyed,” he said, praying, alongside thousands of other survivors and visitors, for eternal peace of those who were killed. ISIS destroyed this place of worship for Christians, beheading religious statues and bombing the harmless residents of Mosul. The pope denounces violence and also converts more people into Christians by doing so. The day before this ceremony, the Pope visited Grand Ayatollah Sistani to discuss how spiritual leaders can solve world peace and religious turmoil. Although the Pope is vaccinated, Grand Ayatollah Sistani was not, which is problematic as neither wore masks among the thousands of other visitors and residents. After his meeting, the Pope visited the ancient city of Ur, thought to be Prophet Abraham’s birthplace. Prophet Abraham is included in various religious works of Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
What does this mean?
Aside from the blatant disregard of Covid-19 concerns, this visit to Iraq symbolizes the union between two religious leaders. This meeting not only proves that the Pope is still actively participating in world affairs but also shows to the rest of the world that religious world peace can be achieved.
- On Saturday the Pope visited Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the spiritual leader of Iraq’s Shiite Muslims, and on Sunday he visited Mosul.
- The Pope went to Iraq to denounce the violence that ISIS has brought in Mosul, and by doing so, spread positivity and Christianity. He visited Grand Ayatollah Sistani to speak about the influence that religious leaders have on world peace and how they can help restore comradery between the different religions.
- Although most of the people in the meetings were not wearing masks and were not vaccinated, this meeting proves to the rest of the world that world peace is still achievable.