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Tuesday, May 19, 2009


The Holy Father before boarding his plane at Ben Gurion International Airport, Tel Aviv.

May 18, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI offered two assessments of his visit to the Holy Land-- first speaking to journalists who accompanied him on the flight from Tel Aviv back to Rome, then speaking to the crowd gathered for his regular Angelus audience on Sunday, May 17.

In his talk to reporters, the Pope mentioned a few memorable moments from the trip:

  • …the moving descent to the lowest point on earth, on the River Jordan, which for us was also a symbol of the descent of God, the descent of Christ into the deepest areas of human existence;
  • The Cenacle, where the Lord gave us the Eucharist, where the Pentecost, the descent of the Holy Spirit, took place;
  • also the Holy Sepulchre and many other impressions.
    • Moving from specific moments to more general impressions, the Pope mentioned three lasting thoughts: the lively interest in inter-religious dialogue, spurred by the mutual recognition that "God is love and wants love to be the dominant force in the world;" the truly encouraging" ecumenical meetings with other Christian leaders; and the enormous difficulties that still face the people of the Holy Land in their pursuit of peace and security.

      At his midday audience on Sunday the Pope remarked that the Holy Land, "a symbol of God's love for his people," has over time be "a symbol of quite the opposite," because of the conflicts there. Still, he said, the challenges facing the people of that region can today be seen as "a microcosm encapsulating God's demanding journey with mankind."

      Soorce: Catholic Culture

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