Religion & Beliefs

Amid Heightened Tensions, Pope to Visit Israel, Pray for Peace

The Pope is due to visit Israel in May, along with 40,000 Christian pilgrims, to walk where Jesus is said to have walked, according to UPI. The trip was formally announced yesterday and details the Benedict’s planned itinerary to visit Amman … Read More

By / March 9, 2009

The Pope is due to visit Israel in May, along with 40,000 Christian pilgrims, to walk where Jesus is said to have walked, according to UPI. The trip was formally announced yesterday and details the Benedict’s planned itinerary to visit Amman in Jordan, Nazareth and Jerusalem in Israel, and Bethlehem on the West Bank, according to The New York TimesReuters says he will also pay a visit to the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem.

This trip comes on the coattails of tension between the Catholic Church and the Jews, only a month after the controversial re-instatement of Holocaust-denying bishop raised claims that the Pope may be anti-Semitic. 

The Pope told a crowd in St. Peter’s Square that he would pray for "the precious gift of unity and peace in the Middle East and for all of humanity."

Israeli President Shimon Peres is welcoming the pontiff’s visit to Israel from May 8-15, saying, "His visit is an important and exciting event that brings the spirit of peace and hope." Ha’aretz also reported Peres calling Benedict "an honored and welcomed guest of all the people."

This will be the second time a pope has visited Israel, with the first being Pope John Paul II in Jubilee Year 2000. At the time, John Paul prayed at the Western Wall for God’s forgiveness of Christian’s offenses against Jews throughout history.