Sunday, May 10, 2009

Appraising Pope Benedict's visit to Amman, Jordan

Reflecting on the visit thus far, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi stated that Benedict XVI has reached the goals that were set for the first leg of his weeklong pilgrimage to the Holy Land, namely: the advancement of Christian-Muslim relations:
"It seems that it's becoming more and more normal for a pope, with a friendly attitude, to enter a Muslim place of prayer," he said. "This is a sign of the advance in the positive relationship between Christians and Muslims in these years."

Reflecting on the 2006 turmoil over Benedict XVI's speech in Regensburg, Father Lombardi said he believes the crisis in Christian-Muslim relations that sprung from that misunderstanding has been resolved for some time now.

and, secondly, a display of support and solidarity with Jordan's Christian community -- which, according to Zenit, "makes up only about 3% of Jordan's more than 6 million people. And only about half the Christians are Catholics":
"In the Regina Pacis Center for disabled youth, he has inaugurated a new section; in Madaba, he blessed the cornerstone of a university -- an initiative of huge importance not only for Jordan but for the whole Middle East, where the development of the contribution that the Church gives to culture will be highly significant.

"Then the placement of the cornerstones of two churches -- a Latin one and a Greek-Melkite one -- in the zone of the baptism of Christ shows growth in the places where the Church is.

"Certainly the fact that the Pope's visit has been linked to these beautiful circumstances says that it is a Church that feels alive and looks to the future."

(Read the rest of Zenit's interview with Father Federico Lombardi).

Further Commentary

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