Pope invites Israeli, Palestinian leaders for joint prayer session

Pope Francis prays during a visit to the Western Wall, Judaism's holiest site, in Jerusalem's Old City, earlier this week. While in the Holy Land, the pontiff extended an invitation to the presidents of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to join a prayer meeting at the Vatican.
Pope Francis prays during a visit to the Western Wall, Judaism’s holiest site, in Jerusalem’s Old City, earlier this week. While in the Holy Land, the pontiff extended an invitation to the presidents of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to join a prayer meeting at the Vatican. (PHOTO: Debbie Hill/UPI/Landov)

Originally published in npr

Pope Francis is hoping to demonstrate the power of prayer next week when Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas join the pontiff at the Vatican for an exercise in peace building.

Reuters describes his invitation to the two leaders to join him at the Vatican for a joint prayer meeting as one of the “boldest political gestures” for Francis since he became pope in March 2013.

Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi tells Reuters that the two had accepted that the meeting would take place on a Sunday afternoon. That morning the pope will be presiding at a Pentacost Sunday service in St Peter’s Square.

The pope, who made the surprise invitation at the end of a Mass in Bethlehem last Saturday, told reporters on the plane returning to Rome that he was not getting directly involved in the stalled Mideast peace process, something he said would be “crazy on my part.”

“Courage is needed to do this and I am praying to the Lord very much so that these two leaders, these two governments, have the courage to move forward. This is the only path for peace,” Francis said on the plane.

Speaking earlier in Bethlehem, the pope said: “Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment.”

The Vatican says both Peres and Abbas immediately agreed to the meeting and approved the June 8 date.

3 Comments

  1. Think About This News Item. Is this OK?

    “AP News
    Pope takes off shoes to enter Dome of the Rock
    May 26, 2014

    JERUSALEM (AP) — Pope Francis has entered the Dome of the Rock, the iconic shrine located at the third-holiest spot in Islam, on the third and final day of his Mideast pilgrimage.

    Francis took off his shoes on Monday to step into the gold-topped dome, which enshrines the rock where Muslims believe the Prophet Mohammad ascended to heaven.

    The mosque complex, known to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and to Jews as the Temple Mount, is at the heart of the territorial and religious disputes between Israel and its Arab neighbors.”

    Here we have a man (pope) who claims to be a servant of the God of the Bible giving honour to another. Is that OK?

    Exod 20:1-6
    1 And God spoke all these words, saying:
    2 “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
    3 “You shall have no other gods before Me.
    4 “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
    5 you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me,
    6 but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments.
    (NKJ)

    Josh 24:20
    20 “If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, then He will turn and do you harm and consume you, after He has done you good.”
    (NKJ)

    • John, I feel Christians are constantly trying to make other religions feel at ease. Trying to blend in with their beliefs, if only for a short while. This is where you get the whole ‘It’s all the same god is it not?’ Yet we know otherwise.

      Why the Christian community entertains the Pope, Roman Catholicism, Islam and the like is beyond me.
      As John MacArthur said, “We are not causing a division in the church, but we are trying to establish who the church is”. We are commanded to call out such practices and rebuke them for what they are. False gospels.

  2. Hello Darryl
    Thanks for your response.

    I am very hesitant to say too much on a public forum like this, however, I would like to add the following as a simple guideline to all those Christians who think that the god of some other religion is the same god as the God of the Bible:

    If any other “god” does not have a Son named Jesus, then that other god is not the same god as the God of the Bible.