In his homily during Saturday's Consistory, the Pope turned his thoughts to Iraq:
I now think with affection of the communities entrusted to your care and, in a special way, of those that are most tried by suffering, by challenges and difficulties of different sorts. Among these, how can I not turn my gaze with apprehension and affection, in this moment of joy, to the dear Christian communities of Iraq? These brothers and sisters of ours in the faith are experiencing in their own flesh the dramatic consequences of a long conflict and are living in an ever more fragile and delicate political situation. Calling the patriarch of the Chaldean Church to enter into the College of Cardinals, I intended to express in a concrete way my spiritual nearness and my affection for those populations. We would like, dear and venerable brothers, together to reaffirm the solidarity of the whole Church with the Christians of that beloved land and to invite and to implore from the merciful God, for all peoples involved, the longed-for coming of reconciliation and peace.
And on Sunday, he asked for a day of prayer for the conference about to open in Annapolis:
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
On Tuesday, at Annapolis in the United States, Israelis and Palestinians, with the help of the international community, intend to re-launch the negotiation process to find a just and definitive solution to the conflict that has bloodied the Holy Land for 60 years and provoked so many tears and so much suffering among the two peoples. I ask you to join yourselves to the day of prayer declared today by the U.S. bishops' conference to implore the Spirit of God for peace for that region so dear to us and to give wisdom and courage to all the protagonists in this important meeting.