- Apr 18, 2021
According to the most recent survey by Aid to the Church in Need, when it comes to American Catholic attitudes about anti-persecution around the world, Catholics in the US now appreciate there’s a severe persecution of Christians around the world, even if they still come up a little short on the fine points.
A top papal aide has praised Pope Francis’s meeting with Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali al-Husaymi al-Sistani while in Iraq earlier this month has been praised by a top papal aide as a significant step forward in Catholic relations with Shia Islam.
As the dust settles on Pope Francis’s historic March 5-8 visit to Iraq, people in the troubled country inspired by what they saw and heard from the pontiff are hoping his message has last impact.
The story of Doha Sabah Abdallah’s personal tragedy and loss deeply resonated with Pope Francis during his historic visit last weekend to the northern Iraqi town of Qaraqosh, once devastated by Islamic State group militants.
Imagine fleeing your home in the middle of the night to escape anti-Christian violence, spending years stranded as a refugee in a neighboring country, and watching the pope visit your home city.
Abdullah Kurdi, the father of the young refugee boy who death five years ago woke the world up to the reality of the migration crisis, has described his recent meeting with Pope Francis as the best birthday present that he’s ever received.
Pope Francis’s historic visit to the Middle East’s most conflict-riven nation gives hope and comfort to Iraqis of all faiths, and some would even say to Arabs beyond Iraq’s borders.
“You know there are some critics who say the pope is not courageous but unconscious, that he’s taking steps against Catholic doctrine, that he’s one step from heresy,” Pope Francis said Monday. “These are risks, but these decisions are taken always in prayer, in dialogue, asking for advice.”