John Allen: Can the Pope Bring the Peace?

…when Pope Benedict XVI visits Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories starting on Friday, the world may be excused for holding its breath. In his four years on the job, this pope has not always demonstrated a deft symbolic touch. If he simply manages to get back to Rome without starting a war, some might declare the trip a success.

Yet Benedict can, and should, do much more. Granted, the pope is not a politician, and this trip is more a pilgrimage than a diplomatic mission. Nonetheless, Benedict can make a unique contribution to the peace process at a moment when it obviously needs the help.

The reason for this is that popes enjoy a tremendous advantage over Western politicians in engaging the Middle East. This is the realm of “theopolitics,” where religious convictions always shape policy choices. A pope can engage those convictions in a way that secular trouble-shooters like former Senator George Mitchell, President Obama’s envoy to the Middle East, never could.

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Posted in * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Middle East, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, The Palestinian/Israeli Struggle

One comment on “John Allen: Can the Pope Bring the Peace?

  1. the roman says:

    Stalin’s query notwithstanding, I pray the Holy Father’s visit may cause Christian, Jew and Muslim to at least consider a better way for their future together.