Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pope Francis' Historic Holy Land Visit

Pope Francis embraces Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I as they meet outside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, in Jerusalem's Old City, Sunday, May 25, 2014. The Church of the Holy Sepulcher, where the pope met Bartholomew I in the central event of his Holy Land trip, marks the spot where Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians believe Jesus was crucified, buried and resurrected. AP Photo/Sebastian Scheiner│Yahoo

1. Pope and Patriarch at Prayer Marks Historic Chapter in Ecumenism

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said the joint prayer at the Holy Sepulchre was a historic step forward to healing a Catholic-Orthodox split almost 1,000 years old.

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the successors to the apostles Peter and Andrew, made history in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre today by holding a prayer service together in a place where Christians from different churches have previously prayed only separately.

During the evening prayer service in Jerusalem, both Pope and Patriarch knelt beside each other to pray and also light candles at the tomb where Jesus Christ was buried after his crucifixion in 34 A.D. and rose from the dead on the third day. Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told journalists at a late evening press conference that their public mutual prayer was completely new and another “historic” step forward in ecumenical progress begun by Pope Paul VI and Ecumenical Patriarch Athenagoras in 1964.

“From the ecumenical point, for the Christian, this evening celebration was the high point of this visit,” he said.

“This is the first time that Christians of different confessions [will] pray together in the Holy Sepulchre. Normally, they will pray at different times and in different groups.” ... ► Read the full article by National Catholic Register

Pope Francis prays at the Western Wall, the holiest place where Jews can pray, as an unidentified Rabbi looks at him, in the old city of Jerusalem, Israel, Monday, May 26, 2014. AP Photo/Vincenzo Pinto, Pool│Yahoo

2. Why Pope Francis May Be the Best Politician in the World.

It’s hard to argue that Pope Francis is not the world’s best politician after his trip this past weekend to the Holy Land. In fifty-five hours, the 77-year-old Bishop of Rome visited three countries, gave fifteen addresses, planted two trees and held a groundbreaking 45-minute press conference. With a weekend full of blockbuster moments, it might be a bit audacious to say one stood out above the rest. But if there is one that will have a lasting impact on the region, it was Pope Francis’s Sunday surprise.

While celebrating an open-air Mass in Bethlehem, Francis unexpectedly invited Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the Vatican for a June meeting of prayer and dialogue ... ► Read the full article by Christopher J. Hale in Times

Pope Francis prays at Israel’s separation barrier on his way to a mass in Manger Square next to the Church of the Nativity, traditionally believed by many Christians to be the birthplace of Jesus Christ in the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Sunday, May 25, 2014.  AP/Ariel Schalit│The Blaze

3. Can the Pope's Holy Land Visit Be Apolitical?

On his trip this weekend to Jordan, Palestine, and Israel, Pope Francis generated his usual media frenzy, particularly with his (supposedly spontaneous) prayer at the concrete separation wall during his stop in Bethlehem ... ► Read the full article by Sarah Posner in Religion Dispatches


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