A year ago this month, Pope Francis went to Iraq. Now I know not everyone here is fond of Pope Francis. If you can put that aside for a moment — he is the pope. And so when he makes a trip somewhere, it is news. John Paul II wanted to visit the Christians in Iraq but wasn’t able to. After the genocide, Francis was determined to get there. Because of Covid and security, he was being urged not to go. Many a headline and news story made it look as if the trip was on the verge of cancellation. But he went. And the people there were overjoyed.
My friend Stephen Rasche caught much of the devastation and rebuilding on camera. He was in the front row in more ways than one for much of it and for the papal visit. He tells the story of the people in a new film, Pope Francis in Iraq, mostly by letting the people speak for themselves. Pope Francis in Iraq will debut Tuesday night at the Sheen Center in New York. National Review Institute is cosponsoring and I’ll be talking with Rasche after the film.
I know time is a precious commodity and it’s a weeknight (and we are all used to staying home), but we’ll get you out by 8 p.m. — it begins at 6:30 p.m.
What I’m struck by in the film — and in so many encounters with Iraqi Christians — is that they could have many grievances against us, but instead they are simply grateful when we pay attention and even recognize that they exist there. We should do more than that, but it’s a start.
And their witness of Christianity — and hope and even joy — under existential duress will inspire you.
Watch the brief trailer here:
You can RSVP here.
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