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Pope considering a visit to Iraq?

CWN - February 09, 2011

The government of Iraq has announced that Pope Benedict XVI may make a visit to Ur, the birthplace of the patriarch Abraham.

The Iraqi tourism ministry revealed that the Pontiff had expressed an interest in a pilgrimage to Ur. The papal inquiry, he said, was passed from the Iraqi ambassador at the Holy See to his office. The tourism minister, He Sumaisem, said that his office had suggested possible arrangements for a trip next year.

The late Pope John Paul II had hoped to make Ur the destination for one of his Jubilee Year pilgrimages to the sites connected with the history of salvation. Those plans were frustrated by the conditions set by the Iraqi regime led by Saddam Hussein, who evidently hoped to turn the papal visit into a propaganda showcase. In December 1999, after a series of inconclusive negotiations, the Vatican announced that the plan for a papal trip had been dropped.

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