NCR Today: Pope Francis' trip to the Holy Land was a smashing success as he showed the world that religion can be a force for peace and reconciliation.
Pope Francis renewed his call for an end to war and terror as he finished his three-day journey to the Middle East with a marathon of meetings.
Despite insisting that his three-day trip in the Middle East would be “strictly religious,” Pope Francis dove headfirst into the political situation.
"It's important to us that he's visiting Bethlehem and Palestine first. ... It was a message for all Palestinians: I'm coming to visit you."
Faith and Justice: Pope Francis' visit to the Holy Land will be full of opportunities and challenges. Like any pilgrim, he comes to pray, but it's about much more than that.
Most Israelis welcome Francis' visit to the Holy Land as a chance to show the world a side of Israel that supports tolerance and dialogue.
It sounds a little far-fetched and for some purists perhaps unthinkable: A pope, a rabbi and a sheik decide to travel to the Holy Land and follow in the steps of Jesus.
But that is just one of the groundbreaking aspects of Pope Francis’ three-day visit to the Middle East that starts on Saturday (May 24), a visit in which he hopes to shore up interfaith dialogue, strengthen diplomatic relations and find new ways to build peace.
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A lack of courageous leadership has hampered the peace process, one woman said. "How many courageous hearts do we have in the world? Francis is a courageous heart."
The heads of Christian churches in the region plan to launch an international awareness campaign following a series of anti-Christian vandalism.