SPIRITED THINKING SINCE 1888
John Cookson

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March 08, 2021
Pope Francis was a man on a mission, says correspondent John Cookson in Baghdad on Monday morning. The question is: Did he succeed?
March 07, 2021
The Pope returns to Baghdad and departs for Rome Monday, having wound up what will be seen as a highly successful four-day historic pilgrimage.
March 07, 2021
Beleaguered Christian communities in the north of Iraq hope today's pilgrimage by the Pope will not only help the healing process but also draw world attention to their continuing persecution.
March 06, 2021
John Cookson reports from Iraq, on a momentous day of doings in an historic visit to the country by Pope Francis.
March 06, 2021
Francis and Sistani appear to share some traits, which could mean they’ll get on well going forward. They are close in age - Sistani is 90, Francis is 84 - and men both shun ostentation.
March 05, 2021
Pope Francis ended the first day of his historic trip to Iraq with hymn singing, clapping and white and yellow flowered-garland handed by well wishers shouting: "Long Live the Pope (Viva il papa! In Italian, localised in "Viva La Papa!)" as he entered the Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
March 05, 2021
"It's indescribable," said one worshipper, 53-year-old Martin Scekes, who survived the bombing and decided to stay. Mr. Scekes  told the Catholic Herald: "The Pope coming to see us will lift our hearts."
March 05, 2021
"It's indescribable," said one worshipper, 53-year-old Martin Scekes, who survived the bombing and decided to stay. Mr. Scekes  told the Catholic Herald: "The Pope coming to see us will lift our hearts."
March 05, 2021
Christians have been waiting more than 20 years for a Pope to come see them, after St John Paul II's pilgrimage was abandoned when talks broke down with the then-President Saddam Hussein. Security concerns prevented successor Pope Benedict XVI accepting an invitation. It's not only Christian communities who are excited.
March 04, 2021
Asked in February why he was making a tour of Iraq at a time of growing political tension and worries about the spread of Covid, Pope Francis replied: “I am the pastor of people who are suffering.”
December 14, 2020
At stake is whether Iraq will finally emerge from the trauma of Saddam Hussein and the past sixteen years, to become a legitimate, independent and functioning country, or whether it will become a permanently lawless region, open to proxy wars between other countries and movements, and a servant to the sectarian demands of those outside the country.