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Will Pope Benedict’s visit to the Middle East have a positive effect?

Fri, 08 May 2009 12:22:14 BST

Pope Benedict XVI is visiting holy sites in Jerusalem on the second day of his visit to the Holy Land. Will his visit help promote peace in the region?

The Pope visited the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, becoming the first pontiff to see the site, and then the Western Wall, one of Judaism's holiest places. He has stressed the importance of Christians and Muslims working together.

However, the visit is attracting some controversy. In the past three years, the head of the Roman Catholic Church has offended some believers of both the Muslim and Jewish religions.

What effect do you think this visit will have on the region? Do you think he can help bring reconciliation to the Middle East? Will you be attending any of his public services?


Wow. So someone's finally gotten around to seeing a public relations officer. What next? Retracking his statement that the distribution of condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS in Africa could endanger public health and increase its prevalence? That man's the Roman Catholic Church's equivalent of George W Bush!
Anis, Tokyo

Said by Hamzah Saladin "I honestly hope that his visit is so successful that thousands of people in the middle east converting to catholicism... i hope that because the religions diversity helps the atheism".
It is clear that Saladin in this above quote does not know much about the Quran. Because the Quran confirms to Muslims that the Bible is light from God to the people. So i highly reccomend that you, Saladin go read the Quran, Bible, and learn more about what atheism really is!!
Paul Takla, Cairo, Egypt

The Pope's visit will be a good sign of inter-faith dialogue, which seems more crucial than ever in the world's current climate.

I have noticed some inaccuracies in the previous comments; particulary in reference to homosexuality. The Pope is not homophobic - I will point you to the Church's official stance that homosexuals "must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity" and "that they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection." ref CCC 2358 & 2359
Graeme McConnell, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear

How can there be peace when an entire nation's homeland had been abducted from them and have had another nation (whom were well off where ever they were) sub planted in their stead. where is the right of FREEDOM that the west and all their actors bombard about.
Hamza Murad, Middle East

Easy. Contextual engineering, a twist of BBC atomic-spin, liberal basting in abject ignorance and yes, a bombardment of lies not to mention rockets, and voilĂ ! H.M.'s Hallucinogenic Happy Meal!
zak, Oblahdee Oblahbama land

The short-sighted will say "No - the RC Church is irrelevant" - the cynic will say "No - big business will see to that" and the naive will say "No - it isn't his business". But he speaks with the voice of billions thru 2,000 yrs of human history. His message is of love and reconciliation despite our pains, fears and weaknesses - he demands our faith to try again, to believe that we, ourselves in Christ, can renew this broken world in love and peace - in what way is this futile or "irrelevant"?
Carl O, Eldwick

If a one sided politician like Henry Kissinger could be recognized as a peace maker and win the Noble prize for it, then this pope, the politician he is, may have a chance in Oslo too, but not in the middle east.
m h, washington, dc, United States

Some comments on here are ridiculous. If you think the Pope is irrelevent that is fine but...
As the largest of the Christian churches he has a voice. His opinion matters in a time when people talk about conflict between Chrisendom, Isalm and Judaism. People of faith talk to other people of faith and respect each other for their faith in a world of growing Atheism and Agnosticism (where I am found). It can do some good or do some harm. But irrelevent it is not.
Mike, Madrid

The Middle East crisis is, not need to say, is complex and very deep rooted. It involves a long history of mistrust as will as generations of set minds and brain washes. It needs every effort any good man or woman can offer. The Pope, undoughtly, is a good man and carries a lot of weight. He has to reach out to the common people of the middle east and convince them that he is not siding with Israel, that chrestians and jews are not plotting to bring down Islam but to bring them justice and peac.
Joseph Gabriel, Scotch Plains

His condemnation of those who deny the Holocaust should ring around the world, and may even reach Iran.

Ralph Phillips, Rishon Le Zion, Israel

Actually Ralph, it isn't the Holocaust that's being denied but the rights of the Palestinian people so please stop harping on about this nonsense of Holocaust denial. This is just a convenient excuse for Israel to pursue its illegal occupation and expansion.
justice for all x, london, United Kingdom

The only positive effect to be achieved is by way of severe discipline towards Israel - who continues to thumb her nose at UN orders and International laws. Far better to send the White House
puppy "Bo" to the Middle East -- he represents honesty and
Life as it should be lived. Everyone would be touched and
for a brief moment, humanity would be united in love.

Rosemary Gilbert, San Francisco

Only in San Francisco.
And people chuck easter bunnies and santa clauses at religion.
*sigh*, The Enchanted Kingdom of America