Will Pope’s Visit to Holy Land Encourage Religious Indifferentism?

Pope Francis will be accompanied on his first visit to the Middle East by Argentine Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Muslim leader Omar Abboud — two friends from Buenos Aires.Image

It is the first time a pope has made an official visit accompanied by members of other faiths, and it underscores the interfaith focus of Francis’ trip to the Holy Land, the Vatican said Thursday.

“This dimension of interreligious dialogue has great significance,” the Vatican’s official spokesman, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, told the media.

Skorka, rector of the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary, and Abboud, president of the Institute for Interreligious Dialogue in Buenos Aires, are part of the official delegation for the May 24-26 trip, which will include Jordan, the West Bank and Israel. Both men are longtime friends and collaborators from Francis’ days as archbishop of Buenos Aires.

Lombardi outlined details of the pontiff’s trip, which will include celebrating Mass with 1,400 children at a stadium in Amman and meeting the children of Iraqi, Syrian and Palestinian refugees.

Pope Francis will follow in the footsteps of his immediate two predecessors, Pope John Paul II, who made the pilgrimage in 2000, and Pope Benedict XVI, who went in 2009.

During this visit the pope will meet the king and queen of Jordan, Israeli President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

Francis planned this visit to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic meeting between Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras of the Orthodox church in 1964.

He will meet the current patriarch, Bartholomew I of Constantinople, spiritual leader of 250 million Orthodox Christians, on four different occasions during his stay.

Lombardi strongly condemned recent attacks by Jewish extremists on a church and the Notre Dame Center, a Vatican complex, in Jerusalem ahead of the pope’s visit. Source

Comment

It strikes me as very sad that the Pope would visit the Holy Land accompanied by two non-Christian leaders, when he knows full well that Christ’s final words on this earth to his infant Church were an instruction to go out into the whole world and spread the Faith, baptizing in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

It seems to me, therefore, that for a pontiff to visit the Holy Land in the company of two non-Christian religious leaders is to give the impression that all religions are equal. It is a further step along the road of religious indifferentism. And that, it seems to me, is a calculated slap in the face to Our Lord.  Am I wrong?  

Pope: Church Cannot Seek Converts…

Pope: Church Cannot Seek Converts...

Never before in the history of Christian-Jewish relations have a Pope and a Rabbi celebrated their friendship by living in the Vatican together for several days, sharing all meals, including on two Jewish festivals and the Sabbath at which the Rabbi said prayers in Hebrew, and discussing what more they can do together to promote dialogue and peace in the world.

That is what actually happened over the past four days at the Vatican guesthouse (Santa Marta) where Pope Francis lives and where his friend from Buenos Aires, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, has been his guest from September 25 to this day.

“I eat with him at breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. He cares for me, and controls everything regarding my food to makes sure it is all kosher, and according to my religious tradition. These are festive days, and I have to say certain prayers at meals and, I expand the last prayer and translate it. He accompanies me together with the others at table -his secretaries and a bishop, and they all say ‘Amen’ at the end”, the Rabbi said.

By acting in this way, the Pope and Rabbi are sending an extraordinary message of friendship, dialogue and peace not only to their respective religious communities but also to the whole world. And they plan to do even more together, Rabbi Skorka revealed when we talked together at Santa Marta, on September 27.

He and the Pope are planning to travel together to the Holy Land next year. The Israeli and Palestinian authorities have invited Pope Francis, and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew1, wants him to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic meeting of his predecessor, Athenagoras, with Paul VI in the Holy City…

“We come together without burying our identities. I spoke to him about evangelization, and he stated emphatically that the Catholic Church cannot engage in proselytism”, he said.

Click on the picture to read the entire report. And then tell us your thoughts. Me? I’m fresh out of words to describe Pope Francis. TV and radio news broadcasts today announced his intention of canonising both Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II. I mean, what’s the editor of Catholic Truth to say that she’s not already said – loud and clear?

Over to you, folks…