- Apr 11, 2021
One month after Pope Francis’s historic visit to Iraq, one of the country’s top Catholic prelates has made the bold suggestion of enforcing a stricter separation between religion and the state.
Before returning to Rome from Iraq March 8, Pope Francis left $350,000 to assist families still suffering the impact of conflict or in dire straits because of the economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic, said Cardinal Louis Sako, the Baghdad-based patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church.
Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan, visiting from the patriarchate in Beirut, led about 20,000 Christians through the streets of Qaraqosh Palm Sunday, March 28.
One of Iraq’s top Church officials has praised the recent return of several confiscated properties belonging to Christians and other minorities, saying the move is one that could hasten the return of families who left the country due to injustice and persecution.
Political leaders had “very nice words” during Pope Francis’s early March trip to Iraq, but now Christians pray “that those words, those declarations, will be applied on the daily level, on the ground,” said Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan.
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.
Even though Pope Francis has left Iraq, there have been several significant developments in the country that observers are already crediting to the papal visit.
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.