DAILY CATHOLIC    WEDNESDAY     October 27, 1999     vol. 10, no. 205

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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BREAKDOWN IN PLANS FOR PAPAL VISIT TO IRAQ?

        VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- Preparations for a papal trip to Iraq have been interrupted, with a top Vatican diplomat citing the need for a "pause for reflection."

        Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican's Secretary for Relations with States, has told the Italian daily Avvenire that the halt in preparations is the result of "some signals coming from Iraq." The papal voyage-- originally scheduled for December of this year-- has been in doubt since September 29, when an official Iraqi government news service carried a stinging criticism of the Pope, signed by several leading Iraqi intellectuals. The criticism was taken as an indication of the government's viewpoint. In its October 26 report, based on the interview with Archbishop Tauran, Avvenire concludes that the trip may be in jeopardy because the Iraqi government is seeking to gain political advantage from the Pope's visit.

        On October 21, Cardinal Achille Silvestrini had told reporters that he still considers the papal trip "probable." But in a sign of new difficulties in relations between the Holy See and the Baghdad government, Archbishop Tauran said that Cardinal Silvestrini was only voicing a "personal desire."


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October 27, 1999       volume 10, no. 205
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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