Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Pope Francis and the walls

Everything Pope Francis does is carefully planned and has a symbolic value. He visited the Kotel, the Wailing Wall, with two friends from Argentina, Rabbi Storka and Omar Abboud, leader of Argentina's Muslim population.. Then he visited the wall separating Arabs and Jews on the way to Bethlehem. A wall is a wall, whether it represents the destroyed Temple of ancient Israel or a symbol of Arab grievances. He met politicians and religious leaders on both side, invited Shimon Peres and Abbu Abbas to the Vatican.  He showed by example, that as the head of the Catholic Church he can relate to the contemporary secular world and has a role to play at bringing people together. If  Jewish and Moslem religious leaders like him would get together and talk about peace they might achieve more than politicians do with all their peace negotiating. But these would have to have the attitude of Pope Francis with a faith in peace and religious tolerance, not the kind who foment hatred. Such are all too prevalent both in the Jewish and the Moslem world.