Pope confirms Japan trip and his desire to visit Iraq

Pope Francis tries on a scarf given to him by a reporter aboard his flight from Rome to Panama for World Youth Day (CNS/Vatican Media)

Pope Francis wants to visit Iraq, has confirmed a trip to Japan in November and has described the wall being built at the United States-Mexico border as the result of fear that makes people act irrationally. Source: Crux.

Francis is on his way to Panama for World Youth Day, and although he typically doesn’t give official interviews or press conferences during his outbound flights, overnight he offered several soundbites to the journalists travelling with him, as he greeted each one of them personally.

Speaking with an Italian journalist who was recently in Tijuana, Mexico, and who told the Pope that the Trump administration’s proposed wall is projected to extend all the way into the ocean, describing it as “crazy,” the Pope responded: “Fear makes us crazy”.

Crux delivered to Francis a message from the newly-ordained Archbishop of Mosul, Iraq, who wanted to ask the pontiff to visit the war-torn country.

“Yes, but it’s them who tell me now is not the moment,” he said, adding with a smile: “Surely, they had a fight amongst themselves. But that’s why I sent the Secretary of State … I want to go, and in the meantime, I follow the situation closely.”

Francis was referring to a Christmastime trip to Iraq by Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s Secretary of State and his top diplomatic aide.

One of the members of his entourage told Crux soon after that to deliver a “sign of peace, the Pope would even go to the moon”.

Archbishop Najib Mikhael Mousa was ordained by Cardinal Patriarch Raphael Sako last Friday, and his appointment is widely seen as a sign of hope. However, 95 per cent of the city was destroyed by ISIS, which means that Archbishop Mousa has nowhere to live and there are no churches left standing. He told Crux that he’s planning to live in nearby Karamles until he can get a “room” ready.

Talking with a Japanese journalist, Francis confirmed what’s long been rumoured: his intention to visit Japan in November.

FULL STORY

Pope calls US border wall a sign of ‘fear,’ says he wants to visit Iraq (Crux)

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On flight to Panama, Pope confirms November trip to Japan (CNS

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