Pope Francis Visits Iraq
In a move rivaling any put forth by the Blessed Pope John Paul II, Pope Francis visited Iraq this week. His visit has included tours of areas decimated by Isis. Directly interacting with Christians in Mosul and the Nineveh Plains, the Pope elevated the hopes of thousands of Christians whose numbers have been ravaged by the murderous tirades from ISIS.
In truly Christian fashion, the Pope urged forgiveness on the part of Christians for the travesties that have been undertaken against them and prayed for a harmonious coexistence between them and Muslims.
"How cruel it is," the Pope observed, "that this country, the cradle of civilization, should have been afflicted by so barbarous a blow, with ancient places of worship destroyed and many thousands of people - Muslims, Christians, Yazidis and others - forcibly displaced or killed."
Unbeknownst to many who view Christianity as a mostly western religion, Christianity once blossomed in the area, brought to the region by the Apostles Philip and Andrew themselves. Until the time of the Turkish invasion of the region, the areas known today as Iraq and Iran were prominent Christian strongholds.
A highlight of the trip, the first for Pope Francis in over a year and the first visit by a sitting Pope in modern Church history, was His Holiness's meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, which produced as statement from Sistani affirming that Christians deserve to "live like all Iraqis in security and peace and with full constitutional constraints."
"Today, however, "the Pope said, "we reaffirm our conviction that fraternity is more durable than fratricide, that hope is more powerful than hatred, that peace more powerful than war."
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Dr. Julio Gonzalez is an orthopaedic surgeon and lawyer living in Venice, Florida. He served in the Florida House of Representatives. He is the author of numerous books including The Federalist Pages, The Case for Free Market Healthcare, and Coronalessons. He is available for appearances and book signings, and can be reached through www.thefederalistpages.com.