Pope’s visit serves as reminder ‘we are all siblings’

Fr Naim Shoshandy with Pope Francis in 2019 (Crux/Twitter, Fr Shoshandy)

An Iraqi priest says Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq next week is an act of bravery and also madness. Source: Crux.

“The country is burning, but he is still going,” Fr Naim Shoshandy said. “It’s an act of bravery, for him to go to Iraq, the land of Abraham, as an apostle.”

An act of bravery, Fr Shoshandy said, without denying it could also be considered an act of “madness.”

There have been three rocket attacks in the past 10 days in Iraq, including one on the United States embassy in Baghdad, and another at a US base in the airport of Erbil, the capital of Kurdistan, the autonomous northern region Pope Francis will also be visiting and using as his base to go to the Nineveh Plain.

Fr Shoshandy is from this plain but he was forced to flee Iraq after Islamic State murdered his 27-year-old brother because he was a Christian. Today, the priest lives in Albacete, Spain.

Pope Francis will visit Erbil, Mosul and Qaraqosh on March 7. His March 5-8 trip to Iraq also includes stops in the Plain of Ur – the homeland of the biblical patriarch Abraham – and Najaf, where he will meet with Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

“We hope that this visit will open the eyes of many in Iraq, serve as a reminder that we are all siblings. And we also hope it will bring something of extreme importance: the hope of religious freedom,” Fr Shoshandy said.


Iraqi priest says Pope’s visit an act of ‘bravery’ and ‘madness’ (By Ines San Martin, Crux)

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