Pope calls to end Iraq violence as McCain holds talks in Baghdad
Pope Benedict made an emotional appeal for an end to violence and massacres in Iraq, as he recalled the death of a kidnapped Chaldean Catholic archbishop. The half-buried body of Paulos Faraj Rahho, the archbishop of the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was found on Thursday, two weeks after he was nabbed by gunmen from his car.
"His beautiful testimony of faith to Christ, the Church and his people that he did not want to abandon despite numerous threats, pushes me to raise a strong and sorrowful cry: enough with the massacres, enough with the violence, enough with hatred in Iraq!" Pope Benedict said, according to Reuters. Speaking to thousands of pilgrims in St. Peter's Square, the Pope called on Iraqis to "raise their heads" and rebuild their nation with reconciliation, forgiveness and justice.
Meanwhile, U.S. Republican presidential candidate John McCain arrived in Iraq on Sunday to assess the success of a U.S. troop build-up that he has strongly backed. The visit is his eighth to Iraq since U.S.-led forces invaded Iraq in March 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein. McCain supported going to war but was a vocal critic of how the war was conducted. McCain said last week that the quickest way to bring the war to a conclusion was by "continuing the surge".