Aboard the papal plane, Mar 8, 2021 / 07:02 am
On his flight to Rome from Baghdad on Monday, Pope Francis said that Iraq's top Shiite cleric is a "humble and wise man," and their March 6 meeting had a "universal message" about the importance of fraternity.
The landmark meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani took place on the second day of Pope Francis' historic three-day trip to Iraq March 5-8.
During an in-flight press conference on the flight back to Rome March 8, the pope was asked if the meeting with al-Sistani was a message to the religious leaders of Iran.
"I believe it was a universal message," Pope Francis responded. "I felt the duty of this pilgrimage of faith and penance to go and find a great, a wise man, a man of God."