- 5-22-09: The Custodian of the Holy Land, Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, said that “conditions exists for finishing the fiscal agreement” between the Holy See and the State of Israel “by the end of this year," and that "A good portion of the points have been resolved" (Catholic News Agency):
Speaking to the Italian bishops' news agency, he explained that “the issue regarding the fiscal exception is at a good point, but there still needs to be discussion about the issue of the Holy Places, which is something we are discussing at this time.”Good news, but we'll believe it when we see it.
Regarding the Upper Room, which Israel is considering returning to the Church, Father Pizzaballa said, “It is an issue that has a long history and will be studied in detail. In fact, there has been no discussion on the matter since the year 2000.”
- 5-26-09: Vandals Attack Graves in West Bank - In what Palestinian authorities describe as a "rare attack", about 70 of 200 Christian graves were vandalized in the overwhelmingly Muslim West Bank town of Jiffna. As the article remind us, "During a pilgrimage to the region earlier this month, Pope Benedict called on Christians not to abandon the Holy Land."
- 5-22-09: The executive representatives of the World Jewish Congress visited the Vatican to thank Benedict XVI for his Holy Land pilgrimage (Zenit):
Ronald Lauder, president of the international organization, which represents 100 Jewish communities worldwide, expressed his appreciation for the Pope's May 8-15 trip in an audience with the Pontiff's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.
A statement from the congress explained, "Despite being a complicated trip, its outcome had been positive and was a milestone for strengthening mutual understanding between Christians and Jews."
- 5-21-09: Haaretz reports that Roman Catholic Church officials are questioning Israel about the poor turnout at Pope Benedict XVI's open-air mass in Jerusalem:
Monsignor Antonio Franco, the papal nuncio in the Holy Land, said Thursday that church officials are still trying to figure out what happened. He says he's received reports that worshippers with tickets were turned away at the entrance while others received their tickets too late.
Franco says it's premature to blame Israel.
- 5-09-09: Better late than never, but we learned that prior to the Pope's pilgrimage to the Holy Land, The Taliban has warned Pope Benedict XVI that he will feel "the consequences of a severe reaction" if Christianity is allowed to be preached in Afghanistan.
- 6-4-09: Francis Cardinal George of Chicago devoted a column to summarizing the key points of the papal journey in "The Holy Father in the Holy Land" (The Catholic New World).
- 6-04-09: EWTN’s Skewed Commentary on the Pope’s Holy Land Trip - CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) takes aim at biased remarks from Brother Aloysius Florio (Vicar of the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land located in Washington, D.C.).
- 5-31-09: "A tale of three narratives", by Jonathan Mirvis (Haaretz):
Now that this month's visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Israel has been relegated to history, it might be useful to examine the distinctly different ways in which the trip was understood by different populations.
We can point to three contrasting "narratives" by which the event was described. The first reads as follows: "Pope visits Israel and refuses to apologize for Holocaust"; the second reads, "Pope visits Holy Land and prays at the holy places." One can find the first narrative in the Israeli media while the second is typical of the Catholic media, as well as of some of the general world media that covered the visit. There is a third narrative reflected in Israel's traditional religious media, according to which the papal visit was a non-event. For that public, the lead story of the week in question was the celebrations of Lag Ba'omer and the pilgrimage of tens of thousands to Mt. Meron.
These narratives reflect three contrasting views relating to this region. ... [read more].