Shafaq News / A member of the Iraqi Parliament criticized the agenda of the Pope's visit to Iraq, hinting that it has disregarded an integral component of the Iraqi fabric.
MP Muthanna Abdul Samad Al-Samarrai said in a tweet today, "I reviewed the program of the Pope's visit to Iraq scheduled to March, which we welcome as we welcome every virtuous guest, but the program ignored an essential component, the Sunnis."
Al-Samarrai said that the Sunnis had "the Fiqh Academy of Senior Scholars in Iraq," adding, "whoever plopped the visit's program, he should have paid attention to this matter."
Pope Francis' Apostolic Visit to Iraq begins on Friday morning 5 March when he departs from Rome and arrives at Baghdad International Airport in the afternoon.
The official welcome ceremony will take place at the Presidential Palace in Baghdad followed by a courtesy visit to the President. Pope Francis will also meet with civil authorities and members of the Diplomatic Corps.
As part of the schedule on Friday, the Pope will meet with Bishops, Priests, Religious, Consecrated Persons, Seminarians and Catechists at the Syro-Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation in Baghdad.
On Saturday, 6 March, Pope Francis will depart Baghdad for Najaf. Following a courtesy visit to the Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Al-Husaymi Al-Sistani in Najaf, Pope Francis will fly to Nassirya for an interreligious meeting at the Plain of Ur.
On his return to Baghdad in the afternoon, the Pope will celebrate Holy Mass at the Chaldean Cathedral of Saint Joseph in Baghdad.
On Sunday morning, Pope Francis will depart for Erbil. On arrival at the airport, he will be welcomed by religious and civil authorities from the region of Iraqi Kurdistan before continuing his journey by helicopter to Mosul. While there, he will recite a prayer of sufferage for the victims of war at Hosh al-Bieaa (Church Square).
The Pope will again take a helicopter to Qaraqosh where he will visit the Qaraqosh community at the Church of the Immaculate Conception.
In the afternoon, Pope Francis will return to Erbil where he will celebrate Holy Mass at the “Franso Hariri” stadium. Following the celebration, the Pope will depart for Baghdad.
After a farewell ceremony on Monday morning, Pope Francis will depart for Rome. He is expected to touch down at Rome’s Ciampino airport later in the day.