While pundits in the West wonder whether Pope Francis really will brave out-of-control COVID-19 infections, shootings and bombings to visit Iraq, there’s not much doubt among Iraqis and others who know the Pope’s commitment to Christianity in the Middle East.

Published in International

It has been 15 months since Pope Francis made a pastoral trip outside Italy and that by itself makes his March 5-8 mission to Iraq newsworthy. But there’s much more at stake here than dipping his toe into foreign waters for apostolic purposes.

Published in Editorial

VATICAN CITY -- Two days after the Iraqi government announced stringent COVID-19 precautions, including the closure of mosques and churches “until further notice,” the prime minister met with the Vatican nuncio to discuss preparations for the scheduled visit of Pope Francis.

Published in International

AMMAN, Jordan -- Despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and security concerns, Pope Francis hopes to visit Iraq, an opportunity that eluded his predecessors.

Published in International

AMMAN, Jordan -- On his historic visit to Iraq in March, Pope Francis hopes to encourage his Christian flock, badly bruised by sectarian conflict and brutal Islamic State attacks, while building further bridges to Muslims by extending fraternal peace.

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis said that unless there is a serious new wave of COVID-19 infections in Iraq, he has every intention of visiting the country in early March.

Published in Faith

VATICAN CITY -- In the midst of three days of prayer and fasting for peace and an end to the coronavirus pandemic, Iraqi Cardinal Louis Sako, the Baghdad-based patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church, said Iraqis still are counting on Pope Francis to visit in March.

Published in International

VATICAN CITY - Barring any obstacles caused by the global pandemic, Pope Francis is set to begin international travel again in 2021 by visiting Iraq in March, which would make him the first pope to visit this nation.

Published in Vatican

VATICAN CITY -- Pope Francis met with Iraq's president for private talks underlining the need for promoting stability, reconstruction, national sovereignty and dialogue in the country as well as guaranteeing security for Christians.

Published in Faith

In the wake of rising tensions in the Middle East which have seen the assassination of Iran’s top general and the downing of a civilian airliner, Canada can expect an escalation of refugee applications, say representative of aid agencies familiar with the region.

Published in Canada

What does war look like? It has many faces and countless innocent victims.

Published in Editorial

Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Sako, responding to a U.S. drone attack in Baghdad that killed Iran's top general, said "wisdom is required to avoid the 'volcanic eruption' we are about to face."

Published in International

CAIRO -- Amid deadly protests in Iraq, a people's uprising in Lebanon and continued suffering in Syria, Catholic leaders of the Middle East called upon officials of their homelands to "ensure safety, peace and tranquility and stability for their citizens."

Published in International

VATICAN CITY-- Pope Francis said he was concerned and saddened following two months of protests in Iraq that resulted in the deaths of hundreds of people.

"I pray for the dead and the wounded; I am close to their families and to the entire people of Iraq, calling upon God for peace and harmony," the pope said Dec. 1 after praying the Angelus prayer with pilgrims gathered in St. Peter's Square.

The pope's remarks came nearly four days after Iraqi security forces fired on unarmed protesters, leading to the deaths of 25 people and the wounding of dozens more, according to Amnesty International.

Since the protests began Oct. 1, an estimated 400 demonstrators have been killed. Protesters have expressed anger at government authorities for widespread financial mismanagement, corruption and increasing poverty in the country.

The protests resulted in the resignation of Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi Dec. 1 and for calls by international observers for investigations into the killing of protesters.

Iraqi Cardinal Louis Sako, Chaldean Catholic patriarch, expressed his "solidarity with Iraqi Shias and Sunnis" and his concern for those who died or were wounded in the protests, said a statement on the patriarchate's website. He asked all Catholics to pray for the country at Masses Dec. 1.

Cardinal Sako, in the statement posted Nov. 30, said he hoped that "the blood that has been shed as a price" for a free, dignified and secure life in Iraq, will be the seeds of an effort "to build a homeland of justice and independence, in which no one would be oppressed or treated unfairly."

Published in Reflections

A fresh outbreak of violence across Iraq is preventing the Chaldean Archbishop of Iraq from visiting Canada. 

Published in Canada