Yesterday a unique event took place in the history of history. Pope Francis, Shimon Peres, Mahmoud Abbas and the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew prayed together at the Vatican for peace.
The ceremony consisted of music & prayer, after a musical interlude we started with Jewish Prayer There were two readings from the Psalms and a third prayer that I did not know. After each prayer there was a musical interlude to allow reflection on the prayer.
This was followed by three Christian Prayers (the first being made by Patriarch Bartholomew) in the same pattern , prayer followed by a musical interlude and then finally Islamic Prayers each with a musical interlude in between.
When the prayers were completed Pope Francis spoke, followed by Shimon Peres and then finally Mahmoud Abbas. When each had finished their words and prayers for peace they embraced each other , planted an olive tree together and then the four of them formed a receiving line and each of them received the Jewish, Muslim and Christian (both Orthodox & Roman Catholic) guests.
There were several stories on the event up today, at Fox:
“In the Middle East, symbolic gestures and incremental steps are important,” noted the Rev. Thomas Reese, a veteran Vatican analyst for the National Catholic Reporter. “And who knows what conversations can occur behind closed doors in the Vatican.”
Reese wouldn’t be my first choice for a quote but that statement is very true.
it was Pope Francis who said, “To have peace, one needs courage, far more than you need for a war.” And it was the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople who read from Isaiah, “They shall not labor in vain, or bear children in calamity.” The black-clad Orthodox cleric Bartholomew I had prayed with Pope Francis in Jerusalem two weeks ago, where the Pontiff had come to celebrate the 50 years since a predecessor had formally ended 900 years of hostility between the two branches of the church. On Sunday, when the prayers ended, Francis pulled the onetime nemesis to his side for the group photo.There the two churchmen stood, one in white, the other in black, side by side between the Israeli and the Palestinian, showing it can be done.
Kudos for Time for noting the significance of Bartholomew’s presence and the Daily beast is reporting they are planning an event in 2025 for in Nicea that will be really significent.
The Israeli president said: “It is within our power to bring peace to our children. This is our duty, the holy mission of parents.”“O Lord, bring comprehensive and just peace to our country and region so that our people and the peoples of the Middle East and the whole world would enjoy the fruit of peace, stability and coexistence,” Mr Abbas said.
During the service, Jewish, Christian and Muslim prayers were recited in English, Italian, Arabic and Hebrew. The words were intended to thank God for His creation, to seek forgiveness for the failure to act as brothers and sisters, and to ask for peace in the Holy Land.
The ceremony was held in a garden behind St. Peter’s Basilica that is enclosed by a high hedge to provide a sense of intimacy, and that offers a spectacular view of the cupola of the basilica. It also was chosen as a place that seemed somewhat neutral in terms of religious iconography.
And CNN who quoted veteran Vatican reporter John Allen Jr.
“The metric that Pope Francis would be using to measure the success of this event is much longer term. I don’t think anyone is expecting an immediate result,” said CNN senior Vatican analyst John L. Allen Jr. “Now that said, you could also argue that the success of tonight could be measured by the simple fact that it happened.”
And their site had this clip
A fair amount of coverage, but if there is one complaint I would make it is this.
Why no live coverage from secular media, particularly from CNN?
The Event took place on Sunday, EWTN’s coverage started around noon EST and the meat & potatoes began 12:45 and ran two hours. I live tweeted the event from 12:47 PM till 2:39 PM ) I was frequently switching back and forth between EWTN & the cable news networks to see if any of it was carried live, not a sausage.
On a sunday afternoon I would think something like this would be newsworthy, Francis is a popular Pope & the Middle East conflict is something that always generates a debate. Why stuck with bland sunday programing?
Well one might think that the people most interested were already turning to EWTN but I believe there is more to it.
I suspect this didn’t rate live coverage because it wasn’t exciting, there were no guns, no huge crowds, no shouting, or pointed questions just prayer in English, Arabic, Hebrew & Italian and a group of enemies together praising God together and invoking his name in the cause of peace.
And in our modern secularized America who wants to watch something like that live when there is nothing to spin?