A good idea or a bad idea?
King Abdullah II has invited Pope Benedict XVI to visit Jordan, the official Petra news agency reported. The invitation was delivered by Queen Rania, who met with the pontiff at the end of a visit to Italy. No specific date was proposed.
The queen expressed to the pope her husband’s “gratitude … for the efforts he had made toward reinforcing cooperation and comprehension among different confessions and of spreading the value of love and peace,” Petra said. She also said “Jordan hoped to strengthen cooperation with the pope and with the Vatican toward advancing the Middle East peace process.”
Queen Rania was in Rome to sponsor the launching of a programme for developing vaccines against diseases endemic in poor countries.
Jordan is a moderate Muslim nation but around six percent of the population is Christian, mostly Greek Orthodox.
Last week, the pope called on Christians, Jews and Muslims to pursue and intensify dialogue among their religions while respecting differences, as he met with an inter-faith delegation. He sparked outrage in the Muslim world in September with remarks that were seen as linking Islam with violence.
Benedict has made repeated gestures of good will towards Muslims since then. The most stunning gesture came in late November, when he assumed an attitude of Muslim prayer at Istanbul’s Blue Mosque, accompanied by a Muslim dignitary, during a visit to Turkey. [France 24]
Yassir Arafat said one cannot be a Muslim without also being a Jew and a Christian, since Islam embraces the Abrahamic religions. Ecumenical gestures by the Pontiff, and by Jordan’s royal family are welcome.
John Paul II visited Jordan, including Mount Nebo, near Madaba. I do hope that Benedict will similarly visit Jordan. The Christian communities of Jordan do not always have an easy time of it, and gestures by King and Queen toward the Pontiff set a fine example of tolerance.
abu zeina: i agree with what you say in principle but on the other hand we should also consider not only the limitations of our religious tolerance as a people, nation and/or monarch, but also the limitations of other’s religious tolerance…in this case the pope’s.
and i have no actual stance right now on the topic…i’m just saying that it could be argued that way.