Pope to Visit Holy Land
It’s been confirmed that the Pope will visit Israel (and, possibly, Palestine).
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Sunday that Pope Benedict XVI would visit Israel in May, confirming what would be the third trip to the country by a reigning pontiff since its founding in 1948. … The pope also is expected to visit Bethlehem in the West Bank and to travel to Jordan.
No wonder Benedict was in a panic when the Society of Saint Pius X “unexcommunication” blew up in his face!
But what is most significant about this planned visit to the Holy Land by the Pope is the diplomatic victory that it would symbolize for the Israelis, who, lets be frank, have not been altogether well behaved over the years to their Christian “younger brothers”. Will the Pope remember the siege of the Church of the Nativity, the persecution of Palestinians, many of whom are Christian, and the many other episodes of inter-religious persecution?
“We very much hope that the visit will be held in an appropriate atmosphere,” Olmert said, without explicitly mentioning the recent tensions.
In other words, this will be like a visit to China. You go where they take you – no visits to the political equivalent of Tibet.
However, on the bright side, we might see Israel trying to be a bit nicer to its neighbors and the weakest in its society. The Pope has shown that he can talk straight, on occasion, and say things the way they are, after all. It would be in Israel’s interests not to give the Pope too much to complain about.
On the other hand, war might break out and flights to Tel Aviv could be canceled before the Pope gets a chance to go.