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NPR: Pope To Travel To Holy Land With Rabbi And Muslim Leader

21. maj 2014

I NPR Morning edition kan man bl.a. høre:

The first non-European pope in modern history will makes a pilgrimage to the Holy Land this week, a region with centuries of religious strife.

Francis — the first pope to take the name of the saint of peace — will carry far less historical baggage than any of his predecessors.

When John Paul II visited Israel in 2000, he prayed at the Western Wall and apologized for the church's sins against Jews. Nine years later, at Yad Vashem, the memorial to the Holocaust, Benedict XVI urged that the names of the victims never perish, be denied or forgotten.

Those two popes, one born in Poland and the other in Germany, carried the weight of their countries' histories: centuries of anti-Semitism in Poland; Nazism and the Holocaust in Germany.

Rabbi David Rosen, director of Inter-Religious Relations for the American Jewish Committee, says when Jewish and Catholic religious leaders meet, they focus mostly on the past.

"We have long memories, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse," Rosen says. "And if you don't encounter Christians on the positive human bases in the here and now, you are often captive to those tragic memories of the past, and that requires quite a lot of time and energy before the necessary healing has effect."

But the Argentine-born pope is less interested in history, says John Allen, Vatican analyst forThe Boston Globe.

"With Francis, his focus in interreligious dialogue is much more on the present — it's what are the challenges of today, poverty and war, and what can the religions do together in facing them," Allen says. "It is a mode of interreligious dialogue that is free of the ghosts of the past."

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