Pope Francis is in Israel, ostensibly with a message of peace, as opposed to politics, but is it really so? His actions so far seem to speak otherwise.
The Pope’s pointed reference to “the State of Palestine” and his decision to fly directly from Jordan to Bethlehem, thereby skipping over Israeli territory, was interpreted by many as symbolic political support for the creation of an independent Palestinian state. As his day continued, he made a stop at the security wall that separates Jerusalem from Bethlehem, the defensive barrier that Israel had built about ten years ago to protect Israel’s capital from Islamic suicide bombers. In what could only be understood as a blatant political act, the Pope bowed his head and prayed in front of a bold graffiti display, which proclaimed, “Free Palestine!”
If it was justice that the Pope was seeking in Bethlehem, he could have easily made reference to the ongoing persecution and violent intimidation of local Christians at the hands of the Palestinian Authority, which has rapidly shrunk the once robust 80% Christian population down to less than 15%. Could the Pope have said a prayer for the suffering of these Christian victims of Islamic intolerance?
Perhaps the most righteous prayer could have been dedicated to the memory of the thousands of Israeli victims of Islamic terrorism emanating from “Palestinian” controlled cities like Bethlehem. It’s sad but true, that the Vatican doesn’t have a stellar record when it comes to protecting its own children in its child abuse scandals, so perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by its lack of recognition for the suffering of Jewish children who’ve been victimized by the Fatah terror group led by “man of peace” Mahmoud Abbas.
The message emanating from this Pope at the start of his trip was not peace. It was anti-Israel politics. There is nothing holy about collusion between Abbas, the primary employer of Islamic terrorists, and the Pope, a seemingly sincere religious leader that is believed to represent over a billion people. However, true holiness and true peace cannot be genuine, if it’s not based on the accurate recognition of evil and on the spreading of goodness. True prayer needs to reflect that dual reality, and hopefully Pope Francis will have the humility to learn that lesson as his relationship with Israel continues to develop. Otherwise, it’s all just a media show of the worst kind.