- Mar 7, 2021
Pope Francis told Iraqi Christians that when they suffer discrimination, persecution or war, the Eight Beatitudes are addressed to them.
On Saturday Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi announced a day of tolerance and coexistence in honor of Pope Francis’s historic meeting with top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Sistani earlier that morning.
Pope Francis’s visit to Iraq could help water a fertile ground for Catholic-Shi’a Islam dialogue.
In Iraq’s holiest city, a pontiff will meet a revered ayatollah and make history with a message of coexistence in a place plagued by bitter divisions.
As Pope Francis continues his efforts to encourage and personally engage in interreligious dialogue, his planned March trip to Iraq will be an opportunity to extend a hand to the Shiite Muslim community.
Despite widespread speculation that Pope Francis and top Shi’a cleric Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani will sign a document on human fraternity during their meeting in Iraq next month, an Iraqi state official has said the rumors are false.
A Jordan native and expert on Islamic affairs has said the changing faith dynamics of the Middle East has provided an opportunity to reflect on the underlying causes.
One Iraqi priest has voiced hope that if Pope Francis’s scheduled visit to Iraq next month takes place as expected, the trip would encourage the country’s persecuted Christian minority and help restore trust with the Muslim community.