Iraq News - Local News - Baghdadpost

Time not right for Pope Francis to visit Iraq: Vatican

Conditions are not right for Pope Francis to visit Iraq, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin said Wednesday.

"For a pope trip to Iraq there must be that minimum of conditions allowing the trip to take place but which currently do not exist," he said.

"Of course, there is great expectancy on the part of everyone: the authorities, some Muslims who I had a chance to meet and above all Christian communities that feel the need to have the pope to be confirmed in their faith and encouraged in their situation".

On Dec. 28, Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano said that Iraqi President Barham Salih had issued a renewed invitation to Francis to visit his country.

Parolin visited Iraq around Christmas and was received with solemnity by the head of State in Baghdad's Palace of Peace on Boxing Day.

The invitation was echoed in the Chaldean Cathedral of Erbil, crammed with faithful, where the shout "long live the pope!" resounded on several occasions.