His Holiness Pope Francis has concluded his March 5-8 visit to Iraq.
Observers have been striving to write articles analyzing the significance and the outcome of the blessed trip of the successor of St. Peter to Iraq.
This important visit cannot be assessed at this moment because it has far-reaching results. The immediate results of the visit is that Pope Francis assured the Christian Iraqis that they are not alone; that their continued presence in the land of the ancestors will be ensured; and that guns will be silenced with pigeons of peace flying over all parts of Iraq in which components of the Iraqi society live in peace, harmony, and mutual respect.
The Pope's historic visit to Iraq was a victory for a country long suppressed by violence and bloodshed. It is now the duty of the Iraqi government to water the seeds of love, mercy and common living that the Pope has sown in Iraq by maintaining its sovereignty on every part of Iraq as well as protecting all minorities, and entrancing genuine peace.
The Pope wanted to send a message stating that respect for all components of the Iraqi community is essential since creating unity among the different components of a population is based on preserving dignity.
The immediate outcome of the visit is that all wounds will be dressed and all efforts will be directed towards resuscitating a society that has been on the verge of total annihilation in every aspect of life.
The last word that Pope Francis uttered before he departed Iraq is “Salam” in Arabic which means “peace”. He repeated it three times to assure the Iraqi people that peace is a must. It is an exigent need whose attainment cannot wait any longer. Pope’s call for peace is not confined to Iraq. It is a call to world leaders and peoples that peace in the only avenue leading to progress, prosperity, and attainment of achievements in all walks of life. The Pope’s call for peace is an assertion of what the Holy Bible says, “And He shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: Nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. (Isaiah 2:4).
Over the past decade the Iraqi people has continuously been bleeding, as well as suffering from loss of lives, from economic depression, from violence, and from forcible displacement. Pope’s words are intended to draw the attention of people that peace is inevitable and that it will be fulfilled very soon.
One of the immediate outcomes of this visit is the trend to rebuild facilities destroyed by ISIS through various Christian organizations including Aid to the Church in Need (ACN). ACN has all the times been committed to standing with those Christians living in their ancient Biblical homeland of faith.
Iraq pre-March 5 is not the same as Iraq post-March 8. This bleeding country is undergoing radical changes. It will soon become an arena of peace, prosperity, and common living.