- Egypt rights center raided, 2 Mubaraks acquitted
- New Mexico Supreme Court rules same-sex marriage constitutional
- Blame Bush: 5 years later, that’s still the mantra, pollsters find
- Dutch prostitutes demand same retirement benefits as soccer stars
- John McCain to Harry Reid: I’ll ‘kick the crap’ out of you
- Dogs that talk: Researchers seek $10K for ‘No More Woof’ technology
- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
Pope joins Muslims, Jews in unity appeal
Question of the Day
NAZARETH, Israel | Pope Benedict XVI climaxed his visit to the Holy Land by holding hands and singing with Muslims and Jews in the hometown of Jesus on Thursday to underline a poignant appeal for all faiths to reject hatred and live in peace.
The 82-year-old pontiff made the spontaneous gesture, getting to his feet during a meeting at the Basilica of the Annunciation church in Nazareth as a rabbi sang “Shalom, Salam, Lord Grant Us Peace.”
The interfaith meeting of Christians, Jews and Muslims came on the pontiff’s last full day of his delicate tour of Israel and the Palestinian territories.
The German pope’s response to the song, which was specially composed for his visit by Rabbi Alon Goshen-Gottstein, contrasted with what some Israelis felt was his stiff, rather cold attitude during a visit he made Monday to Jerusalem’s Holocaust memorial.
In his greetings to the religious leaders in Nazareth, Benedict recalled the ethnic and religious diversity of the surrounding, fertile northern Israeli region of Galilee, where Jesus spent much of his youth.
“Our different religious traditions have a powerful potential to promote a culture of peace, especially through teaching and preaching the deeper spiritual values of our common humanity,” the pope said.
“By molding the hearts of the young, we mold the future of humanity itself. Christians readily join Jews, Muslims, Druze and people of other religions in wishing to safeguard children from fanaticism and violence while preparing them to be builders of a better world.”
At an evening vespers service, Benedict again urged his flock of beleaguered Christians of the Middle East to resist the temptation to leave the troubled area and work instead as “effective instruments of God’s peace, helping to build genuine reconciliation between the different people who recognize Abraham as their father in faith.”
Also on Thursday the pope met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a Franciscan convent next to the basilica. Vatican officials said the 15-minute talk “centered on how the peace process [with the Palestinians] can be advanced,” but Mr. Netanyahu said he focused on Iran.
“I asked him, as a moral figure, to make his voice heard loud and continuously against the declarations coming from Iran of their intention to destroy Israel,” the Associated Press quoted Mr. Netanyahu as saying.
Benedict has repeatedly called for a Palestinian state during his visit and denounced an Israeli wall that cuts through populated areas of the West Bank in what Palestinians see as a disguised land grab.
Mr. Netanyahu, who visits Washington next week for a summit with President Obama, rejects the two-state solution.
In a sign of the continuing issues to be resolved between the Jewish state and the Vatican, an Israeli official said a Holy See request for multiple-entry visas for 500 priests from Arab countries had been rejected.
Benedict began his day by celebrating Mass for tens of thousands of Christians, calling for people of all faiths in the Holy Land to “reject the power of hatred and prejudice.”
“Sadly, as the world knows, Nazareth has experienced tensions in recent years which have harmed relations between its Christian and Muslim communities,” Benedict said in his homily.
About the Author
By Michael P. Orsi
Edward Snowden should declare his patriotism in court
- Citing 'unfair system,' Obama commutes sentences for 8 crack offenders
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- Homeland Security helps smuggle illegal immigrant children into the U.S.
- Bill Gates: The Secret Santa disguised as a 'friendly fellow' on Reddit
- EDITORIAL: Red faces at the White House
- Outrage over Phil Robertson suspension, 'malignant' political correctness
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- PRUDEN: 'Tis the season for apologies
- Special ops vets slam military benefit cuts
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Southern Fried Politics from the Lens of a Persian-American Millennial
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Paul Rondeau exposes the propaganda, media tricks, and government policies that undermine our families, faith, freedom…and even life itself
Implement these actionable tips, how-to’s and best practices in 10 minutes or less to leverage online communications and technology for brand, business and career development.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow