“And now, 2022, there are a lot of signs of hope,” he said, “and still a lot of requirements for the Iraqi government, but also the international community, to support the development of the whole country, including of the autonomous province of Kurdistan and the different villages and towns which are inhabited by Christians.”
John Pontifex, head of press and information at ACN UK, said he had a similar impression when he visited the Muslim-majority country of 40 million people earlier this year.
Noting that the Christian population had fallen from around 1.3 million before 2003 to perhaps as low as 150,000 today, he said: “I’ve been following Iraq for 20 years — all the time I’ve worked with Aid to the Church in Need — and I think this trip showed the most signs of hope in terms of steps forward to address this large-scale decline.”
Regina Lynch described the impact of Pope Francis’ groundbreaking visit to Iraq in March 2021.
The director of projects at ACN International, who traveled as part of the papal delegation, said: “I saw for myself how encouraged and moved the Iraqi Christians were by the pope’s visit.”
“Pope Francis’ visit, I think, really has given them hope and a hope that seems to be lasting.”
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