Breaking News Stories
These are news stories breaking after the publishing of this Word
– Twenty-First Century Crusades?
Prediction 12: A visit by cardinals and/or the Pope himself to Jerusalem.
Abbas meets Pope Francis
at Vatican, invites him to visit Holy Land
by Khaled Abu Toameh, Tovah Lazaroff
During their first meeting in the Vatican, Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday invited Pope Francis to visit the
Francis welcomed Abbas and presented him with a gift in appreciation of
his efforts to achieve peace in the Middle East, the PA’s official news
agency Wafa reported.
After the private part of the meeting, the pope gave Abbas a pen,
telling him, “surely, you have a lot of things you have to sign.”
Abbas responded: “I hope to sign a peace treaty with Israel with this
Abbas’s spokesman Nabil Abu Rudaineh; Ziad al-Bandak, PA adviser on
Christian affairs; and Bethlehem Mayor Vera Baboun attended Abbas’s
Thursday meeting with the pope.
Francis, who was ordained in March of this year, has already said he
would like to come to the Holy Land in response to a personal invitation
from President Shimon Peres in April.
But no date has been set for such a visit, even though reports surfaced
that the pope would come in March of next year. A Vatican spokesman said
that while the pontiff was eager to visit Jerusalem, no specific plans
have been made.
When Francis arrives, it is expected he would visit both Israel and the
Palestinian territories, as did Pope Benedict XVI in 2009, and John Paul
II in 2000.
To date there have been only three papal visits to the Holy Land.
Abbas’s visit with Francis follows on the heels of an announcement
Wednesday night, that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu plans to meet
with the pope in the Vatican next Wednesday.
Reuters contributed to this report.