Currents News Staff
When the start of the Iraq War began in 2003, most countries withdrew their ambassadors from Baghdad. But even though the Vatican opposed the war on moral grounds, the nuncio at the time remained in the country as bombs rained down on the capital.
“Having lived this experience with them has helped them see that we don’t leave because there is a war, we don’t abandon them,” said Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre. “The Church always offers solidarity.”
In March, Pope Francis will travel to Iraq in a show of solidarity. He’ll visit Mosul, the city that was under ISIS control for more than a year. It’s a possible challenge to the safety of the pontiff’s visit.
“If we are talking about risks, we should not go there,” Cardinal Filoni said. “The authorities will do everything possible to make it a safe trip. I believe that, as has happened on other occasions, it will be the citizens themselves who will guarantee safety. It is something that goes beyond police deployment or political strategy.”
To those who think it would have been preferable to wait for a moment of greater stability in the country, Cardinal Filoni has a clear answer.
“We should not consider traveling to this country that, little by little, tries to find its path, only when the road is quiet, without obstacles,” he said. “It is contrary to all logic, especially the logic of the Christian Church. We are with the people. If the people suffer, we share the suffering with them.”