Pope strengthens the dialogue between religions


Pope Francis is praying at the separation wall in Bethlehem. Source: www.itv.com

Pope Francis is praying at the separation wall in Bethlehem. Source: http://www.itv.com

Last Saturday Pope Francis, Roman Catholic leader, began his tour around Jordan, Israel and Palestine in an attempt to boost ties among Muslims, Christians and Jews. “It will be a purely religious trip,” the Pope told some 50,000 pilgrims at his last general audience in St Peter’s Square before his three-day visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Once arrived to the Holy Land , Pope Francis started his morning at Al-Aqsa, the third-holiest site in Islam, where he met the grand mufti of Jerusalem, Muhammad Hussein . The Pope urged members of the three monotheistic faiths,  not to “abuse the name of God through violence”.

Along with this  Grand Mufti said: “Peace in this land will not happen until the end of the occupation, and when people get their freedom and full rights”.

It was also a strong gesture when Pope Francis stood praying in front of the separation wall in Bethlehem. The Pope’s journey was purely religious, but the stop was a step into a political issue. Five minutes Pope Francis prayed near an Israeli military watchtower. On the wall emblazon graffiti which demand ‘‘Pope, we need someone to speak about justice’’, call for a ‘‘Free Palestine’’ and take reference to the Warsaw ghetto.

Pope praying in the wall. Source: www.timesofisrael.com

Pope praying in the wall. Source: http://www.timesofisrael.com

The separation wall that built around Jerusalem is the barrier that separates : East-Jerusalem from the West Bank and that divides Bethlehem. According to the Israeli government, the wall is a security measure to protect their citizens and avoid conflicts.

Pope Francis spread a message for harmony, unity and a peaceful living together of Jews, Christians and Muslims also against religious intolerance. He demanded the peace that ‘‘rests on the acknowledgment by all of the right of two states to exist and to live in peace and security within internationally recognised borders’’  and resistance against violence, terrorism, discrimination and anti-Semitism.

The separation wall divided Bethlehem from Jerusalem. Source: cdn.timesofisrael.com

The separation wall divided Bethlehem from Jerusalem. Source: cdn.timesofisrael.com

The two predecessors who accompany Francis throughout his route approached the Palestinians’ plight: Whereas, Pope John Paul jogged the world’s memory that ‘‘torment of the Palestinian people has lasted too long’’, Pope Benedict talked about ‘‘all the homeless Palestinians who long to be able to return to their birthplace, or live permanently in a homeland of their own’’.

To make a difference in the progress of peace in countries of the Middle East Francis invited Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and Israeli president Shimon Peres to visit the Vatican. Both are welcomed to ‘‘pray an intensive pray together with me and beg god for the gift of peace‘‘, Francis said. Abbas has already accepted the invitation on Sunday. He called the visit of Pope Francis a ‘‘symbolic meaning as a defender of the poor and the marginalised’’ and noticed his interest in stalled talks with Israel and made references to Palestinian and Israeli need for peace and security. Nevertheless, he spoke off difficulties affecting Palestinians, including Israeli settlements and prisoners. On Monday, Peres expressed his hope that the Pope’s visit in Jerusalem will raise the chance of peace in the Middle East and the realisation of a two-state solution: ’’A Jewish state Israel and an Arabic state Palestine”.

Mustafa al-Barghouti, a member of the Palestinian legislative council, pronounced the Pope’s prayer at the Separation Wall ‘‘will remain in the world’s mind forever as a rejection of the apartheid wall’’.

Finally, to get to an end of Pope´s visit he stopped before the airport at the Cenacle´s mass. The site where Christians believe Jesus held Last Supper. Jews believe it is the burial site of the biblical King David, and several groups held protests in the run-up to the pope’s visit, believing that Israel was planning to give the Vatican sovereignty over the site. Monday’s mass was uneventful, however.

Pope at Cenacle´s mass. Source: www.catholicworldreport.com

Pope at Cenacle´s mass. Source: http://www.catholicworldreport.com







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