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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Pope expresses shock over cruelty waged against innocent Iraqis

As a military operation in northern Iraq fights to wrest control of areas held by retaliating Daesh forces, Pope Francis criticised the “cruelty” and heinous violence waged against innocent civilians.

He invited people to pray with him, asking that “Iraq, while gravely stricken, might be both strong and firm in the hope of moving toward a future of security, reconciliation and peace.”

Speaking to visitors in St Peter’s Square for the Angelus prayer on 23rd October, the pope said, “In these dramatic hours, I am close to the entire population of Iraq, especially that of the city of Mosul. Our hearts are shocked by the heinous acts of violence that for too long have been perpetrated against innocent citizens, whether they be Muslims, whether they be Christians, or people belonging to other ethnic groups and religions.”

He said he was “saddened to hear news of the killing, in cold blood, of many sons and daughters of that beloved land, including many children; this cruelty makes us weep, leaving us without words.”

Picture: Smoke rises at Daesh militants’ positions in the town of Nawaran, Iraq, near Mosul on 23rd October. (CNS photo/Azad Lashkari, Reuters).