Pope Francis displays 'faith diplomacy' in his Holy land tour
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/26/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Stressing simplicity, Pope Francis has proved himself a far greater diplomat than his predecessor Pope Benedict. In his recent trip to the Holy Land, both Israeli Israel's President Shimon Peres and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas accepted his invitation to visit him at the Vatican within hours.
In Jerusalem, the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray, Pope Francis paid a visit.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Analysts say Pope Francis has seized a unique diplomatic initiative. Bypassing the Secretariat of State, Pope Francis has effectively downgraded the formal machinery which fuels Vatican foreign policy.
His invitation to Peres and Mahmoud to his "home in the Vatican," refers to the House of St Martha, which is a modest guesthouse, home to about 50 senior Vatican cardinals and bishops.
Official Vatican guests and visiting bishops are also provided with hotel accommodation and meals there. The kitchen also occasionally provides kosher meals for visiting rabbis and Jewish dignitaries.
The pope lives on the second floor of the guesthouse in a modest three-roomed suite, where he conducts many private meetings in adjoining conference rooms.
Commentators say that Peres swift acceptance was most likely dictated by the fact he is due to end his term as president this summer, and that he will have no official negotiating powers.
It's hoped the meeting will inspire new talks between Israelis and Palestinians after the collapse of the latest U.S.-brokered direct negotiations at the end of April.
The Pope's Holy Land visit has provided some powerful political images. Pope Francis paused to pray in front of two of the most significant walls here, bowing to touch them with his forehead and his hand.
He stopped first in Bethlehem, at a graffiti-covered concrete section of the barrier that separates the Palestinian territories of the West Bank from Israel; then, in Jerusalem, the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray.
Pope Francis on Monday stopped briefly, off-schedule, to pay his respects at a monument to Israeli victims of Palestinian attacks.
At the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, Pope Francis paid eloquent tribute to the sacrifice made by six million Jews who died at the hands of the Nazis all over Europe.
Pope Francis said: "Adam, where are you? Here we are, Lord, shamed by what man, created in your own image and likeness, was capable of doing."
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Support for Persecuted Christians. That persecuted Christians may be supported by the prayers and material help of the whole Church.
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