News / Middle East

Pope Francis Gets Involved In Middle East Peace Process

Pope Francis Gets Involved In Middle East Peace Processi
June 05, 2014 4:22 AM
Pope Francis has invited the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to pray together this Sunday at the Vatican. The pope says he’s not getting involved in the Middle East peace process, but VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky reports that some of the pope’s fans believe he can do things that are difficult for ordinary politicians.
Pope Francis Gets Involved In Middle East Peace Process
Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas are expected to meet at the Vatican Sunday for what is being called an “intense prayer session” with Pope Francis.
The unexpected invitation was extended during the pope's recent visit to the Middle East, where Francis engaged in the kind of photo opportunities that popes usually avoid. He stopped at the barrier erected around the Palestinian territories and at an Israeli memorial for victims of terrorism. 
On the plane home, Pope Francis told reporters he is not getting involved in the stalled peace process.
Nonetheless, said Daniel Petri at the Catholic University of America in Washington, the invitation is a bold move.
“If something happens, it’s tremendous. Pope Francis is the miracle worker of the Middle East,” he said.
The pope is already seen as a maker of miracles by many of his followers. His prayer vigil for peace in Syria on Sept. 7, 2013 was followed by an agreement a week later that prevented U.S. air strikes over the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons.
Christopher Hale of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good has argued in Time magazine that the pope’s accomplishments in the Middle East have shown him to be “the world’s best politician.”
But Petri, a PhD candidate, argued in a rebuttal that there have been tens of thousands of fatalities in the Syrian conflict, as well as new allegations of chemical attacks, since the pope’s prayer.
“To claim it a success, I think, is wrong, morally and intellectually,” he said, adding that the symbolism of the pope’s actions is what’s important.
Sunday’s prayer meeting will follow a morning Pentecost service in St. Peter’s Square. It’s far from clear that anything concrete can be offered by the two political leaders. Peres is nearing the end of his term as Israeli president, and Abbas recently swore in a unity government including Hamas, which advocates the destruction of Israel.
Short of a miracle, the main thing the Vatican prayer session can be counted on to produce is an image of a peace effort, with the pope at the center.

Jerome Socolovsky

Jerome Socolovsky is the award-winning religion correspondent for the Voice of America, based in Washington. He reports on the rapidly changing faith landscape of the United States, including interfaith issues, secularization and non-affiliation trends and the growth of immigrant congregations.

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Comment Sorting
by: PermReader
June 11, 2014 11:49 AM
Popes always defend Arabs Christians against the Jews.

by: ariely shein from: jerusalem
June 07, 2014 6:49 AM
Congratulation to the holy Pope for the initiative and pray of success.

Some facts that the holy pope should be aware of:
1: "Rome will be conquered like Constantinople""
Broadcasted by Palestinians.
Google search: youtube watch?v=i08L09V0_sg
2: Palestinian authority is using olive trees planting as a tactic to claim ownership of land that doesn't belong to them.
It is based on an Ottoman legislation dated 1865.
3: Under the Palestine authority- Christian population dropped from about 140,000 in 1967 to 51,000 in 2013.
4: Israel is the one country in the Middle East where the Christian population has grown from 34,000 in 1948 to 155,000 in 2013
The holly pope should keep in his mind the above lighting facts of the quests and tactics in the real world.

by: David from: usa
June 06, 2014 8:19 AM
Only hope for true peace is Gods Kingdom. That is coming very soon. 1Thessalonians 5:3 "whenever it is that they are saying "peace and security!" then sudden destruction is to be instantly upon them." Politicians and religious leaders cannot bring true peace. They will soon see the fulfilment of Daniel chapter 2.

by: Bao Dang from: USA
June 06, 2014 1:13 AM
Don't give up. Give PEACE a chance; even the last chance.
Israel and Palestine leaders agree to meet Pope Francis that shows their faith.

by: Daniel Ballas from: Tucson, AZ
June 05, 2014 3:54 PM
Prayer will do no good for any of these people. All they pray to are their constituents and their egos. I admire Francis for trying.

by: shekel_trader from: US
June 05, 2014 3:10 PM
If the Pope can defeat Satan, then perhaps he can convince the Israelis to give up their evil quest to steal Palestine.
Otherwise, he will better spend his time attempting to raise the dead.

In Response

by: Robert H. Stiver from: Oahu, Hawaii, USA
June 06, 2014 5:08 AM
Hear, hear!

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