The Pope’s Holy-Land Trip Wasn’t About the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – Emma Green
(dailyalert.org, May 28, 2014)
Even though Pope Francis met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, his trip wasn’t about the Arab-Israeli conflict. It was about Christians.
The Vatican emphasized that the purpose of the journey was a meeting between Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew, the archbishop of Constantinople and primary leader of Eastern Orthodox Christians. Fifty years ago, Pope Paul VI spearheaded a meeting with Patriarch Athenagoras, marking the first time a Roman Catholic pontiff had met with an Eastern Orthodox patriarch since 1054.
In the declaration signed by Francis and Bartholomew, one theme stuck out: the prevention of Christian persecution. “We express our shared profound concern for the situation of Christians in the Middle East and for their right to remain full citizens of their homelands,” they said. “We especially pray for the churches in Egypt, Syria, and Iraq, which have suffered most grievously due to recent events.” (Atlantic)