In Iraq’s holiest city, a pontiff will meet a revered ayatollah and make history with a message of coexistence in a place plagued by bitter divisions. One is the chief pastor of the world-wide Catholic Church, the other a pre-eminent figure in Shiite Islam whose opinion holds powerful sway on the Iraqi street and beyond. Their encounter will resonate across Iraq, even crossing borders into neighboring, mainly Shiite Iran.
"The Chinese virus is the worst. It is a leaked biological weapon," the 77-year-old Dominican cardinal said. He also maintained that his claims could be supported by the military." All military experts around the world are convinced of this, but they are either afraid to or do not dare say it," Cardinal Duka said.
In his autobiography, Nikos Kazantzakis shares how in his youth he was driven by a restlessness that had him searching for something he could never quite define. However, he made peace with his lack of peace because he accepted that, given the nature of the soul, he was supposed to feel that restlessness and that a healthy soul is a driven soul.
Intense preparations for Pope Francis' historic visit to Iraq have been underway for several months, despite continued uncertainty about the safety and feasibility of the trip. But, unless there is a last-minute change of events, the 84-year-old Francis will leave this Friday (March 5) to become the first pope in history to visit this war-ravaged Middle Eastern country.
In order to understand the challenges Christian communities in the Middle East face, it is necessary to understand the ways in which, through centuries of history, Islam institutionally organized its relations with the different religions – in particular with Christianity – across its vast territories.