» 05/27/2014, 00.00
VATICAN - HOLY LAND
Pope Francis in the Holy Land: the "politics" of prayer
The pontiff's invitation to host the Israeli and Palestinian leaders in the Vatican is a first sign of the "success" of the trip to the Holy Land. The meeting, possibly in June, will be a meeting "of prayer". Pope Francis believes in the power of invocation: to break down the walls, to hasten the coming of justice, to make real the "dream" of two safe and friendly States. The unity of Christians - realized through prayer and self-giving - gifting hope to the world. This is why the heart of this journey was not politics, but the embrace between Francis and Bartholomew.
Rome (AsiaNews ) - Pope Francis has already returned from
his trip to the Holy Land, but the images of left and gestures he made are
seeds that could bear fruit in time.
Already, Francis' invitation to Shimon Peres and Mahmoud
Abbas, to come to his "home" in the Vatican for a meeting of prayer
for peace between Israel and Palestine is a milestone in this pilgrimage. And
the fact that the Israeli president and his counterpart of the Palestinian
Authority have already accepted immediately suggests an unexpected touch of success
for this trip.
Policy experts may laugh at this invitation: prayer for
peace between Israel and Palestine? After so many prayers in the past? And
after all the failures in political negotiations, willed by more powerful
personalities than Francis, such as Clinton, Bush, Obama? On what rational
basis can hopes for the resumption of dialogue be rekindled given the fact that
with each passing day obstacles accumulate on both sides, while Israeli settlements
in the occupied territories and East Jerusalem multiply, and Palestinians show
no willingness to ensure Israel's security?
The Pope said that the idea of two States, Israel and
Palestine, should not remain a dream but become a reality. But many wonder if, in
reality, the hope for peace is the vain and impossible dream and whether the
only option for now is to settle for short temporary truces and cease- fires
before to avoid the outbreak of a blazing war that could engulf the entire
In short, the "political" value of the prayer
appears truly minimal.
Yet two images from among many remain impressed on hearts
and minds: Pope Francis' prayer and caress which touched two walls: the "Wailing
Wall" (the Western Wall) and the wall that separates Bethlehem from
Jerusalem, the so-called "Wall of Shame". The pontiff approached the
first after having carressed it in silence, he slipped the prayer of the Our
Father into a crevasse between the ancient stones, close to the heart of the Holy
of Holies. The same thing happened in Bethlehem: a sudden and unplanned gesture,
the Pope approached the barrier near Rachel's Tomb and caressed the wall that
causes so many divisions, death and humiliation between the Palestinians and the
Israelis. In both cases, the hand that caressed the wall awaited the coming of
the Messiah, the only One who can bring peace. At the same time, this same hand
urged for this to take place soon. The "political" value of prayer is
this: it is leaving space for God to act and in really involving oneself with
what is being asked for. In this way, the man who asks becomes the first sign
that the invocation is coming to pass, starting from the heart.
Herein also lies the power of the Pope's invitation to
the two presidents, to welcome them to his "home": to offer one's
home means making oneself available, one's time, one's life in order to foster
a similar openness in others. All of this is a judgment on the way in which
"political" dialogue between Israel and Palestine have been conducted
thus far: saying one thing in words and doing another behind backs, exhausting
mutual trust, to arrive at the paralysis and gangrene of our times.
The pope's prayer - and he repeated in several speeches -
says that peace is possible on condition that we become completely involved in
a comprehensive way, to risk one's life and not just a political project aimed
at final victory. Only on this condition can the paralysis and gangrene - which
seems destined to overtake all international politics - be healed: by recognizing
that the God of all - Muslims, Jews, Christians - will becoming involved in
ushering His coming.
Christian unity is essential in this task. The heart of
this pilgrimage was the embrace between Francis and Bartholomew, between the
Church of the East and West. Again, there are many "walls" posed by this
or that confession, first and foremost, the Russian Orthodox Church. Some might
say that the meeting at the Holy Sepulchre between the successors of Peter and
Andrew was a spiritual interlude among many "political" gestures. In fact,
it was in the sepulchre that the real shift occurred, the fall of the first and
most important wall, that of death . As Bartholomew stated , love casts out all
fear and Christians who love one another become "an example to the whole
world". This was echoed by Pope Francis: " Let us not allow ourselves to be robbed of the basis of our hope! Let us
not deprive the world of the joyful message of the Resurrection!."
25/05/2014 VATICAN - PALESTINE
Pope in Palestine: “I offer my home in the Vatican" for a prayer meeting between the presidents of Israel and Palestine
From the place where Jesus was born, Francis warns about the condition of children in today's society . "Many children are still exploited , abused, enslaved , subjected to violence and trafficking".
14/03/2006 Vatican - holy land
Vatican: "Presence of Christians in the Holy Land, fundamental for peace"
In a letter addressed to Catholic bishops worldwide for the traditional "pro Terra Sancta" collection, Cardinal Moussa I Daoud writes of an area which has been "the scene of decades-long conflict" and which is causing the "disturbing phenomenon" of the exodus of Christians.
03/04/2005 ISRAEL PALESTINE HOLY LAND
The Pope was always close to the sufferings of the peoples of the Holy Land, says Patriarch Sabbah
09/01/2007 VATICAN – ISRAEL – PALESTINE
Political realism of Benedict XVI on Israel-Palestine problem
Yesterday, addressing the diplomatic corps, the pope talked about a “global approach”, pressing for an international peace conference that would include Syria too. The Vatican is acting as a catalyst and even Olmert may be interested. An analysis by our correspondent.
30/05/2014 VATICAN - HOLY LAND
Hopes and scepticism greet pope's Vatican meeting with Peres and Abbas
The prayer meeting is set for 8 June. It will not entail any political mediation but will include a rabbi and an imam. For many Palestinians, the proposal brings their needs back to centre stage. Many Israelis are sceptical in view of the failed US mission to revive talks. Some remember the effectiveness of prayer in the prayer vigil for Syria on 7 September.
Pope: together with the faithful in China on 24 May to celebrate Our Lady of Sheshan
During the Regina Caeli, Pope Francis speaks about the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China, instituted by Benedict XVI. Chinese Catholics must make a “personal contribution to communion among believers and to harmony in the whole society." AsiaNews Symposium on the Church in China is set for this week. Francis appeals for peace in the Central African Republic, and for loving “one another following the example of the Lord”. For him, “Sometimes conflicts, pride, envy, and divisions leave a blotch on the beautiful face of the Church.” Five new cardinals will be named, including a bishop from Laos.
May 24, 2017: 'China, the Cross is Red', AsiaNews Symposium
The event will be held to mark the World Day of Prayer for the Church in China. A title with many meanings: the Cross is red from the blood of the martyrs; From attempts to suffocate the faith with state control; Bceause of the contribution of hope that Christianity gives to a population tired of materialism and consumerism that is seeking new moral criteria. The theme is also about the great and unexpected religious rebirth in the country. Guests to include: Card. Pietro Parolin, Msgr. Savio Hon, the sociologist of religions Richard Madsen, the testimonies of Chinese priests and laity.
18/05/2017 ASIA - VATICAN
16/05/2017 CHINA-NORTH KOREA
AsiaNews IS ALSO A MONTHLY!
AsiaNews monthly magazine (in Italian) is free.