Pope Benedict plans to speak publicly at least 29 times during his May 8-15 trip to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Apart from covering the main points in our news reports, we also plan to post excerpts from his speeches in a FathWorld series called “Papa dixit” (“the pope said”). (Photo: Pope Benedict leaves Rome for Amman, 8 May 2009/Max Rossi)
Following are comments from the first day, on the plane and in Amman. The pope spoke Italian on the plane but will deliver all his speeches here in English.
COMMENTS ON THE PLANE (Reuters translation from Italian):
MIDEAST PEACE: “Certainly I will try to make a contribution to peace, not as an individual but in the name of the Catholic Church , of the Holy See. We are not a political power but a spiritual force and this spiritual force is a reality which can contribute to progress in the peace process … As believers we are convinced that that prayer is a real force, it opens the world to God. We are convinced that God listens and can affect history and I think that if millions of believers pray it really is a force that has influence and can make a contribution to moving ahead with peace.”
CATHOLICS AND JEWS: He said It was natural that after 2,000 years of separate histories, misunderstandings would develop between Christians and Jews. “We each have to do everything possible to learn each other’s language … I am convinced that we will make progress and this will help peace and reciprocal love.”
CHRISTIAN-JEWISH-MUSLIM DIALOGUE: “Certainly there is a common message. Despite the differences in our origins we have common roots …. Our faith in one God . it is important to have two-way dialogue, with Jews and with Islam but a trilateral dialogue … a trilateral dialogue must move forward. It is very important for peace and also to allow each person to live his or her faith well.”