[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/05/10/rashid.papal.trip/art.mosque.gi.jpg caption="Hussein Rashid says Pope Benedict XVI, here at a Jordan mosque, can use his moral authority for peace."]
Special to CNN
There is an assumption that the visit to the Middle East by Pope Benedict XVI will be a profound event. However, no one seems to be asking why there is such an expectation.
Unlike Pope John Paul II, who recognized the state of Israel and visited Muslim holy sites, both historic events, the current pope is better known for interfaith missteps.
Coverage of Benedict's visit to the region seems implicitly to hope for further conflict; everybody is ready for the fight and is disappointed when the hockey game breaks out. What is not acknowledged, and what makes this trip noteworthy, is not the man but the institution of the papacy.
The moral authority that is linked to papal authority is what we hope will be on display. The fact that the pope, as a Christian pilgrim, should retrace the steps of Jesus is unsurprising. The fact that he is expected to speak about more than that issue is surprising.
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