Pope Francis in Iraq, the strength of weakness

China, Russia, Iran, Saudi Arabia… There are still journeys that are impossible for a pope. At least until today. It’s all about patience and perseverance. Pope Francis has just demonstrated this in Iraq. No one would have bet a few months ago on the possibility of such a visit. John Paul II, however champion in matters of papal daring, had to give it up during the Great Jubilee. François succeeded. Despite the pandemic. Despite the security risks, for him and for those who came to meet him. Despite the incredible political, ethnic and religious complexity of this land.

All may not have been absolutely perfect. The Sunnis may have felt the poor relations of the visit given the historic moment that was the meeting between the Pope and the Grand Ayatollah Ali Al Sistani, the country’s highest Shiite authority. The strong man of Kurdistan, Massoud Barzani, tore off a brief interview with the Pope, delicate in view of the political balance of the trip. On Sunday, the Holy See added in extremis a greeting to the Patriarch of the Assyrian Apostolic Church of the East. However, these slags only testify to the difficulty of the exercise. Not from failure.

→ ANALYSIS. Pope Francis’ visit to Iraq did not ease political tensions

From his first speech, Friday in Baghdad, the Pope summed up in one sentence the vocation of this very special trip: “Religion, by its very nature, must be at the service of peace and brotherhood. “ And that is what this man, weakened by age, whose only power comes from his conviction “That it is possible to hope for reconciliation and a new life”. On one of the lands most ravaged in the world by hatred and weapons, he came to sow these words: “Love is our strength. “


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