Breaking News Stories
These are news stories breaking after the publishing of this Word
– Twenty-First Century Crusades?
The Catholic Church getting directly involved in the “Road to Peace” process.
Prediction 12: A visit by cardinals and/or the Pope himself to Jerusalem/Middle
Pope, Abbas Discuss Mideast Peace
By FRANCES D'EMILIO Associated Press Writer
VATICAN CITY— Pope Benedict XVI discussed the Middle East peace process
Saturday with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who invited the pontiff
to visit the Holy Land.
|"You will be very welcome
in Jerusalem and all the holy places," (prediction 12)
"You will be very welcome in Jerusalem and all the holy places," Abbas,
speaking English, told the pope after their private 20-minute meeting in
"Thank you very much," the pope replied.
Abbas later told journalists that Benedict "responded positively" to his
invitation but indicated no date for a visit. Last month, Israeli
President Moshe Katsav invited Benedict to Israel and said he hoped the
pope would visit next year.
During their meeting, Benedict and Abbas talked about the
Israeli-Palestinian conflict, with the pope stressing "the need to
integrate all components of the Palestinian people into the peace
process," Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said in a written
The statement did not elaborate but appeared to be a reference to
extremist elements blamed for violence and terrorism. Violence marred
primary elections across the Palestinian territories earlier this week.
Briefing journalists at a Rome hotel, Abbas said the pope with "his
symbolic weight … can carry out a decisive role for peace."
|During their meeting,
Benedict and Abbas talked about the Israeli-Palestinian
conflict, with the pope stressing "the need to integrate all
components of the Palestinian people into the peace process,"
One of the members in the Palestinian delegation presented the pope with
a document that Abbas later said was fashioned by Bethlehem's
inhabitants "to express the ties of friendship and spirituality that
link the Vatican and the people of Bethlehem, dear to Christians as
When Pope John Paul II received Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat in
1982, the first of many meetings between the two men, it sparked
protests in Israel and in the worldwide Jewish community. John Paul
consistently championed rights for the Palestinian people while at the
same time greatly improving the Vatican's relations with Israel.
Abbas' visit to the Vatican, which included separate talks with the
pope's secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, was his last major
appointment of a three-day visit to Italy.
At a joint news conference Friday with Italian Premier Silvio
Berlusconi, Abbas praised Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and
expressed confidence that the Israeli people would choose the path of
peace in elections scheduled for March.
He also promised "security and transparency" in next month's Palestinian