I think it’s all well and good that the Pope is trying to rehabilitate his image with Jews and Muslims, but things like this really bother me:
But for the Vatican, Benedict’s trip is an opportunity to urge Palestinians and Israelis toward peace and to continue his assiduous efforts to improve his standing with Jews and Muslims.
“The trip is very important and very complex,” the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said this week. He called the journey “an act of hope and faith toward peace and reconciliation.” Given the tensions in the region, he added, “it seems a brave gesture.”
I mean, I really don’t know how many different ways it can be stated, but I think the absolute worst way to view the Israel-Palestine conflict is through a primarily religious lens. Of course, it would be beyond foolish to think that deeply held religious greivances don’t complicate the matters in variety of ways, but the best path towards peace and reconciliation undoubtedly involves the abatement of illegal settlements, quasi-blockades, punitive economic policy, and political disenfranchisement of the Palestinians in “Greater Israel.” This notion that the whole conflict stems not from land, indigence, and political grievance, but instead from some misunderstanding that can be smoothed over with hugs and transubstantiation is, well, beyond foolish.