May 11th, 2009
07:00 PM ET

Pope's moral authority for peace

[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."]

Hussein Rashid
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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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Lampe

    Does it reall matter? If the pope can go there, and try and spread the message of PEACE, instead of HATRED, does it really matter if he is a Pope, a Pastor, a Rev. Rabbi, or whatever?

    May 12, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  2. julianna... canada

    I think this pope should remember.... religion and politics are not a good mix..

    I think the catholic church has enough of its own problems and should put all their effort in these problems..

    May 12, 2009 at 7:32 am |
  3. Francois Ghosn

    The Pope's visit to Jordan and Israel was mainly intended to be a pilgrimage of peace, hope and solidarity. But how can a Christian's pilgrimage be complete without visiting Lebanon? Didn't Jesus perform his first miracle in Cana Lebanon where he turned water into wine? Why Lebanon is not part of the Pope's agenda?

    May 12, 2009 at 6:44 am |
  4. SLM

    The Pope is an outdated figure and should be retired. Why should anyone care what this man has to say about anything?

    May 11, 2009 at 6:28 pm |
  5. Melissa

    Christians aren't moral authorities on anything, no matter how much they want to think they are.

    May 11, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  6. Maria Cruz

    This Pope has done more for the Catholic Church’s ever diminishing reputation then the Spanish Inquisition.

    I wonder: besides tradition, what can possibly keep members of this organization interested in this very tarnished organization?

    May 11, 2009 at 5:05 pm |