Pope Francis Defends Iraq Trip During Coronavirus Pandemic

Jason Horowitz of The New York Times reports that the pope defended his recent trip to Iraq during a press conference on his flight home. Horowitz writes, “Critics have said Francis’ high-profile trip, which involved many stops drawing thousands of people, sent a dangerous and irresponsible message to a world still in the grips of a lethal pandemic fueled by fast-spreading virus variants.” The visit served as a symbol of the Vatican’s continued outreach to the Muslim world. During his time in Iraq, the pope met with Iraq’s most senior Shiite cleric, and the pontiff visited a Christian community that was decimated by the Islamic State.

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