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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

6/9/2014 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Pope Francis welcomes Israeli, Palestinian presidents for evening of prayers

Welcoming both the Israeli and Palestinian presidents to the Vatican for an evening of prayers, Pope Francis added in effort to revive stalled Middle East peace talks. Israeli President Shimon Peres was the first to arrive at the Vatican hotel, and was then followed by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Vatican officials have described the prayer evening as something of a 'time-out' in political negotiations, merely designed to rekindle the desire for peace through prayers common to all the main faith traditions in the Holy Land.

Vatican officials have described the prayer evening as something of a 'time-out' in political negotiations, merely designed to rekindle the desire for peace through prayers common to all the main faith traditions in the Holy Land.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/9/2014 (2 years ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: Peace talks, Vatican, Pope Francis Middle East


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope warmly greeted both and met privately with each one before heading out to the Vatican garden for the service. The meeting came weeks after the last round of peace negotiations, sponsored by the U.S., collapsed.

Vatican officials reiterate that the Pope has no political agenda by inviting the two leaders to pray at his home other than to rekindle a desire for peace among the two parties.

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Some say that the meeting could have significance on beyond mere symbolism. The event reaffirmed Francis' reputation as a leader unhindered by diplomatic and theological protocol, willing to choose unusual methods in the cause of peace.

"In the Middle East, symbolic gestures and incremental steps are important," the Rev. Thomas Reese, a veteran Vatican analyst for the National Catholic Reporter said. "And who knows what conversations can occur behind closed doors in the Vatican."

The prayer summit was a feat of diplomatic and religious protocol, organized in the two weeks since Francis issued the surprise invitation to Peres and Abbas from Manger Square in Bethlehem.

Taking place in the Vatican gardens in the shadow of St. Peter's Basilica, the most religiously neutral place in the tiny city-state.

The event used Jewish, Christian and Muslim prayers, which were delivered in Hebrew, English, Arabic and Italian.

The prayers focused on three themes common to each of the religions: thanking God for creation, seeking forgiveness for past wrongdoing and praying to God to bring peace to the region.

Vatican officials have described the prayer evening as something of a 'time-out' in political negotiations, merely designed to rekindle the desire for peace through prayers common to all the main faith traditions in the Holy Land.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Pope's secretary of state says that the power of prayer shouldn't be discounted for its ability to change the reality on the ground.

"Prayer has a political strength that we maybe don't even realize and should be exploited to the full," he said at the end of Francis' trip. "Prayer has the ability to transform hearts, and thus to transform history."

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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for DECEMBER 2016
Universal:
End to Child-Soldiers: That the scandal of child-soldiers may be eliminated the world over.
Evangelization: Europe: That the peoples of Europe may rediscover the beauty, goodness, and truth of the Gospel which gives joy and hope to life.



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