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Pope’s risky trip to Iraq defies sceptics

Rockets have hit Iraqi cities and COVID-19 has flared,yet, barring last-minute changes, Pope Francis will embark on a whirlwind four-day trip starting on Friday to show solidarity with the country’s devastated Christian community. Keen to get on the road again after the pandemic put paid to several planned trips, he convinced some perplexed Vatican aides that it is worth the risk and that, in any case, his mind was made up, three Vatican sources said. «He is itching to get back out on the road after such a long period,» said one Vatican official.

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