Washington D.C., Mar 8, 2021 / 10:00 am
President Joe Biden stated his admiration for Pope Francis on Monday, after the pontiff's four-day visit to Iraq.
"Pope Francis' visit was a historic and welcome first for the country," Biden stated on Monday. He noted that the trip "sent an important message, as Pope Francis said himself, that 'fraternity is more durable than fratricide, that hope is more powerful than death, that peace more powerful than war.'"
Pope Francis completed his visit to Iraq on Monday, the first-ever visit to the country by a pope. During the March 5-8 trip, he met with political and diplomatic leaders, and Catholic bishops, priests, and laypeople.
The pontiff also met with leading Shiite cleric Ayatollah Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani and took part in an ecumenical meeting at the home of Abraham in Ur. At the meeting, Pope Francis appealed for peace, saying "let us affirm that God is merciful and that the greatest blasphemy is to profane his name by hating our brothers and sisters."
At a Mass before 10,000 attendees in Erbil, Pope Francis praised the generosity of Iraqi Christians "[e]ven amid great poverty and difficulty."