Friday, May 8, 2009

Pope Benedict arrives in Jordan

Amman, Jordan, May 8, 2009 / 09:21 am (CNA).- Shepherd One touched down at Queen Alia airport on Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. as Pope Benedict XVI began his visit to the Holy Land. The Holy Father emphasized that he is coming as a pilgrim and that a downward spiral into violence is not the inevitable outcome for the region.

King Abdullah II and his wife Queen Rania met Pope Benedict on the tarmac accompanied by a smartly dressed honor guard and a military band.

After receiving the Pontiff, the king delivered a speech that surveyed the history of the peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims in Jordan, and welcomed the Pope's commitment to “dispel the misconceptions and divisions that have harmed relations between Christians and Muslims.”

The king also touched on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying, “Our shared values can make an important contribution in the Holy Land … where, together we must help lift the shadow of conflict, through a negotiated settlement, that fulfills the rights of Palestinians to freedom and statehood, and the right of Israelis to security.”

Pope Benedict then took the podium and spoke of his desire to “come to Jordan as a pilgrim, to venerate holy places that have played such an important part in some of the key events of Biblical history.” (Continued here)

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