News / Middle East

    Pope Invites Muslim, Jewish Leaders to Vatican

    Pope Francis Meets Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox Leadersi
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    Scott Bobb
    May 26, 2014 4:24 PM
    Pope Francis is completing his trip to the Middle East with a series of meetings with religious and political leaders in Israel. VOA's Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
    Pope Francis Meets Muslim, Jewish, Orthodox Leaders
    Scott Bobb
    Pope Francis met with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres Monday as he wrapped up his three-day trip to the Middle East.

    Netanyahu told the pope why he believes Israel needed to build a separation barrier around the West Bank city of Bethlehem.

    The Israeli prime minister said that when incitement and terror against Israel ends, there will not be a need for the wall, where Pope Francis stopped and prayed on Sunday.

    Peres thanked the pope for making efforts to restart the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Pope Francis invited Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to come to the Vatican in June to pray for peace and both men accepted his invitation.

    Papal prayers

    Also Monday, the pope prayed and laid a wreath at Jerusalem's Yad Vashem museum, which commemorates the six million Jews killed during the Holocaust.
     
    He also placed a wreath on the grave of the father of modern Israel, Theodor Herzl. He also met with the two chief rabbis of Jerusalem.
     
    Pope Francis meets with the Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, left, and Abdul Azeem Salhab, Head of the Waqef supreme court, near the Dome of the Rock Mosque, MayPope Francis meets with the Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, left, and Abdul Azeem Salhab, Head of the Waqef supreme court, near the Dome of the Rock Mosque, May
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    Pope Francis meets with the Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, left, and Abdul Azeem Salhab, Head of the Waqef supreme court, near the Dome of the Rock Mosque, May
    Pope Francis meets with the Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, left, and Abdul Azeem Salhab, Head of the Waqef supreme court, near the Dome of the Rock Mosque, May
    Earlier, the pope met with the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein at the Haram al-Sharif, also known as the Dome of the Rock. Speaking at the shrine, he said a visit to the Holy Land would not be complete without a meeting with the Muslim communities.
     
    Speaking in Latin, the pope made a heartfelt plea to all people and communities who look to Abraham, calling on all to respect and love one another as brothers and sisters. He also called for those present to learn to understand the sufferings of others.
     
    The pontiff also prayed at the Wailing Wall.
     
    The Rabbi of the Western Wall, Shmuel Rabinovitch, said for too many years, religion was a source of division. He said that from the wall, which is sacred to the pope, the rabbi, and to millions more around the globe, he called on people of all religions to fight hatred and anti-Semitism.

    Holy site

    On Sunday evening, Pope Francis met with Orthodox ecumenical leader, Patriarch Bartholomew, at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, the site where many believe Jesus Christ was crucified and buried
     
    Standing as pilgrims in these holy places, we remember in our prayers the entire Middle East, so frequently and lamentably marked by acts of violence and conflict, said Francis. He said we do not forget the many people in the world who are suffering from war, poverty, hunger and persecution.
     
    Patriarch Bartholomew lamented what he called racial discrimination and religious extremism in contemporary society.
     
    "Religious fanaticism already threatens peace in many regions of the globe, where the very gift of life is sacrificed on the altar of religious hatred. In the face of such conditions, the message of the life-giving tomb is urgent and clear: Love the other, the different other, the followers of other faiths and other confessions," said Bartholomew.
     
    The two leaders then embraced. The meeting marked a similar encounter between their predecessors 50 years ago that launched reconciliation efforts after centuries of conflict between the two churches.
     
    The pope on Sunday said mass and met refugees in Bethlehem, in the West Bank. He stopped his convoy to pray at the separation barrier that surrounds most of the city.
     
    On Saturday he said mass in Amman, Jordan and met Syrian refugees near the site on the Jordan River where many believe Jesus was baptized.

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    by: John Stefanyszyn from: Canada
    June 07, 2014 11:34 AM
    ...but to which ‘god’ will Jorge Bergoglio (“Pope Francis”), President Peres, and President Abbas be praying to for peace at the Vatican since neither prays to the “same god”?
    Bergoglio….Catholicism
    Peres……..Judaism
    Abbas……..Sunni Islam

    In addition to this,
    : the Catholic religion has redefined Christ to be a representative of political religion, of religious liberty & compromise, under the way of the Roman empire.
    :the Judaic religion rejects Jesus Christ as the Son of God...referring to Him as a blasphemer and false prophet.
    :the religion of Islam also denies that Jesus Christ is the Son of God & that He was only a prophet that was not resurrected and not the One Way of Forgiveness /Salvation, claiming instead that Muhammad was the last true messenger (via self righteousness).

    So to which ‘god’ will they be praying for “peace”?
    :::::But there is one common “call it religion” that all three worship, believe in, glorify, and live by.
    ….they will be praying to the ‘god’ of FREEDOM...freedom of self-rights, freedom of self-religions.
    ….Bergoglio….freedom of rights and religions for the Israelis, the Palestinians, the Christians, the Jews, the Muslims, the “non believers”, and the “others”.
    ….Peres…...freedom and rights for Israel ( and they believe that it is right for them to repossess all of the land for Israel)
    ….Abbas...freedom and rights for the state and land of Palestine...the land that they believe is rightly theirs.
    = each believes his way to be right in their own eyes = I will serve and do good for myself first (XES), my neighbor second = way of conflict (and not peace) as Cain killed his brother Abel.

    And this ‘god of fortresses’ dictates that it is RIGHT (a right) to be free to worship ANY ‘god’.

    But there is Only One Creator, whose identity is clearly defined by His Son Jesus Christ….and He said that we are to worship the One and Only Creator and Him Alone, His Will Alone to serve in obedience and love….love for Him and love for the neighbor….and not “my rights”.

    Note...soon the Lord Jesus Christ will return to rule the earth in power according to and in obedience to the Will of the One and Only Creator and NOT according to man’s first love for “his freedom”.....and man will weep and clench his teeth in anger when “his self-freedom” will be no more.

    John Stefanyszyn


    by: Magnus Botchway from: Nsawam
    May 27, 2014 10:56 AM
    just yesterday my driver I work with him said he read the koran and the bible, now pope has invite middle east leaders for peace on june coming,if pope could invite them and is good for moslem to read the bible why can't both religion accept?this I want to know

    by: Jude Ikezu from: Lagos, Nigeria
    May 26, 2014 8:56 PM
    Peace is needed all over the world especially in all war torn nations. Thank God for the wonderful move by Pope Francis I to reconcile the Faiths. I believe with sincere co-operation of all and sundry, the entire world will experience peace in near future. Thank God for your courage and wisdom dear, His Holiness, Pope Francis I.

    by: amir from: new jersey
    May 26, 2014 2:58 PM
    There is no current chief Rabbi of Jerusalem. He met the chief Rabbis of Israel.

    by: Nisar Siddiqui
    May 26, 2014 11:54 AM
    V good effort by pop may Allah bring us all together as v all believe that Abraham Alaisalam was too true prophet and great grand father of all our Prophet and the last Prophet Mohammad may peace be upon Him was His Great Great Son.

    by: salome wambui from: kenya
    May 26, 2014 8:53 AM
    We are one in the Spirit and in the Lord.Thank you Pope Francis for bringing different Religious Communities together.Your presence meant a lot and has increased the faith of some unbelievers.

    by: Godwin from: Nigeria
    May 26, 2014 8:14 AM
    iI want to react to Pope's earlier statement at Bethlehem where he said, “The time has come for everyone to find the courage to be generous and creative in a protracted conflict that has inflicted many wounds.” Yes Pope, we agree. But first and foremost to agree that the land – Bethlehem – in the land of Judea where he stood and made the statement has been known to belong to Israel from ancient times, even in the bible. Today it is occupied by Palestinians. That Israel has not gone forcefully to take it over shows the magnanimity the Pope is preaching has been in the works over time by Israel. And there are so many such places right now occupied by what was known then as Gentiles.

    But aside from this show of charity by Israel, the Pope should not lose sight of the fact of those holy sites to Christianity and perhaps other religions too. What is happening in Iraq, Libya and Mali should be good eye openers to the fact that islam may one day rise to either take over these onerous Christian holy sites or declare them null and void to both destroy and bare Christians and other religions pilgrimages to them. Right as we speak, the Pope may have forgotten the Holy Temple of Jerusalem that the muslims have taken over as their holy site, and with the birth of the Arab Spring which has done nothing but elevate terrorism to state heights, there is no indication the muslims will respect the right of the Christians and others to these holy sites, especially for Christian worship or to share same with the Christians in case they find any reason to have dual respect for such holy sites in islam.

    Yes Pope, we agree to share neighborhood with them, even to absorb them in the Jewish state of Israel, but when they ask to be in charge seems they are asking for too much. On a second thought, since these formerly unknown people who occupied the land that was called the land of Israel, the land of the Jews, who should be integrated into the country of Israel but have refused, yet magnanimously accommodated by the new state of Israel, can be granted greater autonomy they are looking for based on what the original owners of the land have to offer. The Pope should summon the Arab and Islamic leaders to his office to discuss this point so that the much desired peace may return to the Middle East - IF HE MEANS ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.

    by: jean brown from: saint mary of the woods
    May 26, 2014 7:12 AM
    God of heaven and earth.....heal this broken world.....

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