- Apr 21, 2021
The day Pope Francis announced his intention to travel to Budapest, Hungary, in September for the closing Mass of the International Eucharistic Congress, the country went back on a COVID-19 lockdown, that included banning all public gatherings.
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 will travel to Hungary’s capital in September where he will participate in the closing Mass of a multiday, international Catholic gathering, according to the cardinal of Hungary’s Catholic Church.
If you’d polled 100 Vatican officials and papal diplomats six months ago, probably 99 would have counseled against a papal trip to Iraq.
Pope Francis arrived in Iraq, where he will visit six cities in three days, amidst security concerns in a country ravaged by years of war, the constant threat of terrorism and during a global pandemic.
As Pope Francis sets off for Iraq, one US Congressman has called the trip ‘miraculous’, voicing hope that it will improve life for the country’s Christians.
As Pope Francis packed his bags to travel internationally for the first time in 15 months, news stories were flashing warnings about the dangers of his March 5-8 visit to Iraq, not only due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also because of Iraq’s long-term security problems, including bomb and rocket attacks.
Pope Francis’s visit to Iraq could help water a fertile ground for Catholic-Shi’a Islam dialogue.