As the dust settles on Pope Francis’ remarkable four-day visit to Iraq – surely one of the most iconic of his pontificate, the attention swings to the analysis. How might this Apostolic Journey, the first of any Pope to the land of Abraham, shape the future?
Are there real grounds for hope? Who is responsible for moving the agenda forward? Does it rest with the Chaldean, Syriac and other Christian churches? Does the Iraqi government bear some responsibility to help promote dialogue?
Significantly, Grand Ayatollah Al-Sistani “affirmed his interest in Christian citizens living like all Iraqis in peace and security while preserving all their constitutional rights.” So there are tangible positives to pick up on.
This discussion between Dr Harry Hagopian and Baghdad-based journalist Maya Gebeily gives a fascinating insight into the how the visit was received by Iraqis with one eye on present realities, the other on future hopes.
Dr Harry Hagopian is an international lawyer, and consultant on the Middle East North Africa (MENA) and Gulf Regions.
Maya Gebeily is Deputy Director of Agence France Presse (AFP) based in Baghdad.