Pope Francis Hopes to Bring Focus on Iraq’s Disappearing Christian Population During Historic Visit

Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi walks with Pope Francis upon his arrival at Baghdad International Airport, in Baghdad, Iraq, March 5. Iraqi Prime Minister Media Office/via REUTERS

Pope Francis described his first visit to war-torn Iraq amid a raging pandemic and security concerns as a “pilgrimage of peace,” bringing focus on that country’s dwindling Christian population that suffered mass killings by the Islamic State terror group and a mass exodus.

“The age-old presence of Christians in this land, and their contributions to the life of the nation, constitute a rich heritage that they wish to continue to place at the service of all,” said Pope Francis after arriving in Baghdad Friday, addressing Iraqi President Barham Salih and other officials and diplomats at the Presidential Palace, The Telegraph reported.

“May there be an end to acts of violence and extremism, factions and intolerance! May room be made for all those citizens who seek to cooperate in building up this country through dialogue and through frank, sincere and constructive discussion,” added Francis, who has been working to improve relations with the Muslim world, according to La Croix.

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SOURCE: Christian Post, Anugrah Kumar