Pope Francis hesitant about visit to Iraq

VATICAN — In an interview with Italian Channel 5, Pope Francis casted doubt on his visit to Iraq, which would be the first such visit to the country.

“Yes, I have had to cancel visits because I cannot be the reason for people gathering. Now, I do not know if my visit to Iraq will take place. Life has changed,” Pope Francis stated.

During the interview, the Pope indicated how the pandemic had changed his life and how he had to cancel works that were scheduled for last year.

The Pope’s trip to Iraq was scheduled following an official invitation by Iraqi President Barham Salih to Pope Francis inviting him to visit the country in 2019. At the beginning of December, the Vatican announced that the Pope would make the first ever papal visit to Iraq at the beginning of March 2021. The visit was scheduled to include visiting Baghdad and the ancient Sumerian city-state of “Ur” in the south of the country and Nineveh Governorate in the north.