DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     October 8-10, 1999     vol. 10, no. 192

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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IRAQ PATRIARCH SAYS PAPAL VISIT ON

        LONDON (CWNews.com) - Despite reports of problems planning a papal trip to Iraq in December, the patriarch of the Chaldean Catholic Church said on Wednesday that he believed the visit will take place.

        Patriarch Raphael I Bidawid said that, despite indications of "trouble" between the Vatican and the Iraqi government, the visit by Pope John Paul II will still take place. "Up until now we are assured His Holiness will come to Iraq. There is no change to his agenda or program," he said in London.

        The Vatican reportedly suspended preparations for the visit temporarily this week because of mixed signals from Iraq. Although the Holy Father has stressed that trip will be purely religious, the travel arrangements require him to first stop in Baghdad, where some elements of the regime want to make the papal visit a political event.

        Last month, a group of Islamic scholars connected to a government faction insisted that the Holy Father condemn "American-Zionist aggression" if he comes. Vatican sources said that since the statement appeared to reflect the thinking of some government leaders, preparations had been suspended pending clarification.

        Patriarch Raphael told the Royal Institute for International Affairs that he has not received any indication that the trip is in jeopardy and added the visit will have no political overtones. He also said protocol indicated that the Pope should meet with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. "I think the president will meet him. There is nothing strange in that," he said. "It is my conviction the Holy Father will not discuss anything political."


Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

October 8-10, 1999       volume 10, no. 192
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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