The Pope's brilliant move

Francis approaches the divider wall

Pope Francis is proving to be one of the most powerful leaders in the world, who understands the power of his position, and knows how to wield it with disarming humility. We should buckle up for the ride, writes TIME magazine.

On Sunday, he arrived in Bethlehem and made an unexpected stop that surprised everyone: en route to Mass in Manger Square, he halted the Popemobile and caused a chaotic flurry of press, security, and onlookers as he walked over to the wall that separates Israel from the West Bank. Beneath the graffiti scrawled 'Bethlehem,' he reached out, placed his hand on the wall, and prayed.

Only a Holy Father like Francis could pull off this kind of stunt. One small gesture, and the Israeli military in the watchtower above and the Palestinian people below were all at his mercy. He rendered all sides powerless by drawing them into his service, the most counterintuitive service of prayer.

To top it all off, during his sermon at Mass, Francis made a historic invitation: 'In this place where the Prince of Peace was born, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, and President Shimon Peres, to raise together with me an intense prayer to God for the gift of peace. And I offer my house in the Vatican to host you in this encounter of prayer.'

Within an hour, both leaders had accepted his invitation. What were they going to say, no?

Read full article: Buckle Up, People: The Pope's Brilliant Move (TIME)


Presidents accept invitation to go to Vatican to pray for peace (The Tablet)

Why did Pope Francis pray at the wall? (CNN)

Pope Francis calls Israeli-Palestinian stalemate unacceptable (The Guardian)

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