Juggling the political and religious rivalries between Israel and the Palestinians during his trip to the Middle East, Pope Francis called on Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres to join him at the Vatican for prayer and reflection. Jeffrey Brown gets insight into how the Pope navigated his trip from Nicholas Casey of The Wall Street Journal, reporting from Jerusalem. Continue reading
While the pope’s spokesman said that Francis had “no political agenda or proposals to make” during his trip to Israel, Francis’ presence in the Holy Land, in Palestinian territory and Jerusalem, was filled with political implications. Continue reading
Pope Francis met with King Abdullah in Jordan Saturday on the first day of a three-day tour of the Middle East, stressing the relationships between Christianity, Judaism and Islam. This is only the fourth visit of a pope to the region in fifty years. Robert Danin of the Council on Foreign Relations talks with Hari Sreenivasan about the Pope’s balancing act of destinations and words.
Buddhist monks Tuesday carried jars of holy water during a ceremony in Temanggung, Central Java, Indonesia. The holy water ceremony is part of the observation of Vesak Day, which is commonly known as “Buddha’s birthday” — observed during the full moon in May or June. The holy day celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of Siddhartha Gautama, considered the founder of Buddhism.
Orthodox Christians — in a call for peace amid high tensions — prayed in front of the regional administration building in Donetsk, Ukraine on Thursday Continue reading
In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that local governments have the right to open town meetings with prayer — even if the prayer is explicitly of one denomination. Gwen Ifill gets an overview of the case from Marcia Coyle of The National Law Journal. Continue reading
The court said in 5-4 decision Monday that the content of the prayers is not critical as long as officials make a good-faith effort at inclusion. Continue reading
In 2013, Maurice Shohet, an Iraqi Jew who now lives in Washington, D.C., received a surprising email from the National Archives. A librarian had recovered his elementary school record that was left behind nearly 40 years ago when he and his family fled Iraq. The record is part of a cache of thousands of personal documents and religious texts that were found at the start of the Iraq War, drowning in the cellar of a building run by one of the world’s most wanted men. Continue reading
Pope Francis has chosen two iconic 20th century popes to be canonized. Jeffrey Brown gets reaction and background from Patricia McGuire of Trinity Washington University and John Allen of The Boston Globe on the political motives behind the pairing, the unprecedented speed of the selection and the evolving standards of sainthood. Continue reading
Catholics from around the world converged in Rome ahead of the historic canonization of the 20th century’s most loved pontiffs. Pope John Paul II, who stood as a firm opponent to communism at the height of the Cold War, and John XXIII, the so-called “good pope” who is best known for convening reforms under the Second Vatican Council, will be declared saints in Saint Peter’s Square. Continue reading