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Inside the VaticanDecember 16, 2020
Displaced by fighting between the Iraqi army and the Islamic State group, a family leaves a processing center for displaced families Jan. 27, 2017, outside Mosul. (CNS photo/Paul Jeffrey)

Last week, the Vatican dropped a surprise announcement that Pope Francis would be visiting Iraq March 5-8, 2021. The announcement was surprising not least of all because of the ongoing pandemic and insurgency in the country.

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This week on “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell talk about how the Vatican is weighing the pastoral needs of Iraq’s embattled Christian community and the health and safety concerns for Pope Francis and for the crowds who want to see him.

Up next, Gerry and Colleen give their takes on the Vatican’s futuristic Nativity set and explain why Darth Vader and an astronaut are included among the ceramic figures coming to adore the Christ child.

Finally, Pope Francis declared a year of St. Joseph beginning December 8. Why did he choose St. Joseph as a patron for this year? Gerry and Colleen explain the background of the decision and reflect on the pope’s new letter on St. Joseph.

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