May 26th, 2014
08:27 AM ET

Pope: Come to the Vatican for peace talks

By Laura Smith-Spark, Ivan Watson and Delia Gallagher, CNN

Bethlehem, West Bank (CNN) - Pope Francis extended an invitation Sunday to the leaders of Israel and the Palestinian Authority to travel to the Vatican for a "peace initiative," after earlier calling for a two-state solution to the intractable conflict.

The pontiff's remarks came at the end of an outdoor Mass in Bethlehem's Manger Square on the second day of his three-day trip to the Middle East.

"In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with Israeli President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace," Francis said.

"I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer."

He added, "Building peace is difficult, but living without peace is a constant torment. The men and women of these lands, and of the entire world, all of them, ask us to bring before God their fervent hopes for peace."

The Palestinian side has accepted the invitation and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will go to the Vatican, a Palestinian Legislative Council member, Hanan Ashrawi, told CNN.

The Israeli President's office said that he welcomed the invitation. "President Peres has always supported, and will continue to support, any attempts to progress the cause of peace," his office said.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Catholic Church • Christianity • Church and state • Interfaith issues • Israel • Mass • Middle East • Palestinians • Pope Francis

soundoff (41 Responses)
  1. joeyy1


    June 9, 2014 at 3:10 am |
  2. Peaceadvocate2014

    The invitation by the Pope to talk peace is a great gesture. Should be done on all conflicts. I also think that not only the Pope could make the gesture but other religious or non religious leaders. Peace is an aspiration of all.

    May 30, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
    • saggyroy

      Peace is not the aspiration of religions especially Christianity. They want to bring on Armageddon so Jesus will come back. The actions of Muslims speaks for themselves.

      May 31, 2014 at 8:25 am |
      • Peaceadvocate2014

        My aspiration is peace PERIOD. Rapture is a consequence.

        July 25, 2014 at 4:11 pm |
  3. Matt

    “The Lord gives his people strength. The Lord blesses them with peace.” Psalm 29:11

    May 29, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • Matt

      Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14.27

      May 29, 2014 at 2:24 pm |
      • Matt

        “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16.33

        May 29, 2014 at 2:25 pm |
        • Matt

          "In this, the birthplace of the Prince of Peace, I wish to invite you, President Mahmoud Abbas, together with Israeli President Shimon Peres, to join me in heartfelt prayer to God for the gift of peace," Francis said.


          May 29, 2014 at 2:27 pm |
        • Alias

          If he makes any progress on peace, I will register and vote for his re-ellection.

          May 29, 2014 at 2:37 pm |
      • Reality

        From Professor Bruce Chilton in his book, Rabbi Jesus,

        "Conventionally, scholarship has accorded priority to the first three gospels in historical work on Jesus, putting progressively less credence in works of late date. John's Gospel for example is routinely dismissed as a source......

        From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_John#Authorship

        "Since "the higher criticism" of the 19th century, some historians have largely rejected the gospel of John as a reliable source of information about the historical Jesus.[3][4] "[M]ost commentators regard the work as anonymous,"[5] and date it to 90-100."

        "The authorship has been disputed since at least the second century, with mainstream Christianity believing that the author is John the Apostle, son of Zebedee. Modern experts usually consider the author to be an unknown non-eyewitness, though many apologetic Christian scholars still hold to the conservative Johannine view that ascribes authorship to John the Apostle."

        And from Professor Gerd Ludemann, in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 416,

        "Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. "

        See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

        May 29, 2014 at 4:48 pm |
    • sam stone

      very convicing, matt

      thanks for that blather

      June 1, 2014 at 7:23 am |
  4. Vic

    ♰♰♰ Jesus Christ Is Lord ♰♰♰

    That's a smart move, alluding to that the Lord Jesus Christ is the One Who can bring the folds together and establish peace, He is the Solution.

    John 10:14-18
    "14 I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me, 15 even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. 16 I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves Me, because I lay down My life so that I may take it again. 18 No one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This commandment I received from My Father.”"

    Ephesians 2:14-16
    "14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16 and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity."

    All Scripture Is From:

    New American Standard Bible (NASB)
    Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation


    May 27, 2014 at 10:12 pm |
    • Doris

      The cure for John is a strong cup of coffee (also helps from one suffering though Lamentations);
      and the cure for Ephesians is a good antihistamine.

      May 27, 2014 at 11:30 pm |
      • realbuckyball

        Doris ... THAT is hilarious.
        Ephesians. God bless you.

        May 27, 2014 at 11:40 pm |
    • Reality

      Once again, John's gospel is historically nil. Details were provided previously.

      And the Epistle to the Ephesians, was not written by Paul so there is no divine guidance in it.

      Bottom line, Vic's "thum-ptations" are moot yet again.

      May 28, 2014 at 4:24 pm |
    • sam stone

      jesus christ is mythology, vic

      June 1, 2014 at 7:24 am |
  5. hrgreenjr

    Maybe the pope will introduce the warring factions to the space aliens hidden in the vatican basement–

    May 27, 2014 at 9:59 pm |
  6. Akira

    Anyone else find it curious that Israel hasn't said they would attend, when Palestine did?

    May 27, 2014 at 11:36 am |
    • igaftr

      Given Isreal's history, no, it doesn't surprise me in the slightest.

      May 27, 2014 at 11:40 am |
    • Peaceadvocate2014


      Some see peace in Israel as a prelude to revelations, the rapture. A phophecy yet to occur, if you believe in that stuff.

      May 27, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
  7. theancients

    To those who have been thrust into the club no one should ever be in – parents of 'lost children': your world has stopped, while everyone else's seems to be moving along without a thought or a care of your immense loss and pain. Know that you are not alone. Yes, it will take a while, years even... but you will eventually smile again.
    Till then, God's Blessing of Peace, Comfort, and Wholeness as your heart seeks to make sense of your new reality.

    With Love.


    May 26, 2014 at 9:27 pm |
    • Reality

      The new reality is that we can get along quite well without god and religion.

      May 27, 2014 at 12:51 am |
      • hrgreenjr

        What "new reality"? Oh that's a great way to avoid the inevitable; invent a "new reality"–just how long do you think you can "get along" without God and religion in your "new reality", hmm???

        May 27, 2014 at 9:54 pm |
        • Reality

          As Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have shown, god is not needed or desired. Both are atheists of the new reality.

          May 28, 2014 at 12:42 am |
        • sam stone

          There are some that "need" god and/or religion to deal with life

          not all do

          May 28, 2014 at 5:41 am |
        • sam stone

          which inevitable do you speak of?

          May 28, 2014 at 5:42 am |
  8. unsername1

    what is he up to?

    May 26, 2014 at 9:15 pm |
  9. realbuckyball

    Be sure and leave your kids at home.

    May 26, 2014 at 7:45 pm |
  10. evolveddna

    That picture is priceless...head against a brick wall,,,religion, peace.. all together. kinda sums it up really.

    May 26, 2014 at 6:59 pm |
  11. flightfromfrostmtn

    "I offer my home in the Vatican as a place for this encounter of prayer."

    yeah prayer should help.....

    A meeting held at the Vatican? A 3000 year old argument that got its start over which god would dominate in a couple of tribal societies...and the RCC thinks it can mediate an agreement? neither side will back down ever- if they havent lost the taste for violence in several millennia, negotiations in the shadow of the Cross will be antagonistic, not peaceful or neutral.

    Israel needs to give Palestinians a place to live IF they wont grant citizenship and an equal say in government. When people have nothing and are worrying about survival they will fight. Both sides should have equal claim to the land by now- everyone living there now is a native.

    May 26, 2014 at 5:42 pm |
  12. Sheik Yerbouti

    Peace is easier than war and violence. If humans wanted peace they would have it. They don’t. Religion is the primary catalyst for violence. If the religious really wanted peace they would lay down their arms (hypothetical and otherwise). Atheists are on the right track and pushing forward with an agenda of peace and intelligent living.

    May 26, 2014 at 2:23 pm |
    • otoh2

      Yes, lay down their arms and let the "Lord Jesus" and "Allah" duke it out like mature imaginary characters. They are allegedly real big boys and shouldn't need interference or assistance from mere mortals.

      May 26, 2014 at 2:29 pm |
  13. lookatuniverse

    Quran says (Islamic Scripture)

    “They say , "We live only this life; we will not be resurrected. If you could only see them when they stand before their Lord! He would say, "Is this not the truth?" They would say, "Yes, by our Lord." He would say, "You have incurred the retribution by your disbelief." [6:30]

    “The example of Jesus, as far as GOD is concerned, is the same as that of Adam; He created him from dust, then said to him, "Be," and he was.” Quran [3:59]

    “It does not befit God that He begets a son, be He glorified. To have anything done, He simply says to it, "Be," and it is.” [19:35]

    “No soul can carry the sins of another soul. If a soul that is loaded with sins implores another to bear part of its load, no other soul can carry any part of it, even if they were related. ... [35:18]

    “They even attribute to Him sons and daughters, without any knowledge. Be He glorified. He is the Most High, far above their claims.” Quran [6:100]

    “Recall that your Lord said to the angels, "I am placing a representative on Earth." They said, "Will You place therein one who will spread evil therein and shed blood, while we sing Your praises, glorify You, and uphold Your absolute authority?" He said, "I know what you do not know." [2:30]

    Thanks for taking time to read my post. Please take a moment to visit whyIslam org website.

    May 26, 2014 at 1:28 pm |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      You can copy and paste. Congrats.

      May 26, 2014 at 1:42 pm |
    • Reality

      lookatuniverse or whatever other name you have used in the past, stop "sugar coating" your religion of terror and horror as the following koranic passages dictate:

      o "Believers, take neither Jews nor Christians for your friends." (Surah 5:51)
      "Believers, when you encounter the infidels on the march, do not turn your backs to them in flight. If anyone on that day turns his back to them, except it be for tactical reasons...he shall incur the wrath of God and Hell shall be his home..." (Surah 8:12-)

      "Make war on them until idolatry shall cease and God's religion shall reign supreme." (Surah 8:36-)

      "...make war on the leaders of unbelief...Make war on them: God will chastise them at your hands and humble them. He will grant you victory over them..." (Surah 9:12-)

      "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:29-)

      "It is He who has sent forth His apostle with guidance and the true Faith [Islam] to make it triumphant over all religions, however much the idolaters [non-Muslims] may dislike it." (Surah 9:31-)

      "If you do not fight, He will punish you sternly, and replace you by other men." (Surah 9:37-)

      "Prophet make war on the unbelievers and the hypocrites and deal rigorously with them. Hell shall be their home." (Surah 9:73)

      "Believers, make war on the infidels who dwell around you. Deal firmly with them." (Surah 9:121-)

      "Say: 'Praise be to God who has never begotten a son; who has no partner in His Kingdom..." (Surah 17:111)

      "'How shall I bear a child,' she [Mary] answered, 'when I am a virgin...?' 'Such is the will of the Lord,' he replied. 'That is no difficult thing for Him...God forbid that He [God[ Himself should beget a son!...Those who say: 'The Lord of Mercy has begotten a son,' preach a monstrous falsehood..." (Surah 19:12-, 29-, 88)

      "Fight for the cause of God with the devotion due to Him...He has given you the name of Muslims..." (Surah 22:78-)

      "Blessed are the believers...who restrain their carnal desires (except with their wives and slave-girls, for these are lawful to them)...These are the heirs of Paradise..." (Surah 23:1-5-)

      "Muhammad is God's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers but merciful to one another." (Surah 48:29)

      "Shall the reward of goodness be anything but good?...Dark-eyed virgins sheltered in their tents...They shall recline on green cushions and fine carpets...Blessed be the name of your Lord..." (Surah 55:52-66-)

      Quran (8:12) – "I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them"

      Quran (9:5) – "So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captive and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them."

      May 26, 2014 at 3:33 pm |
    • Reality


      You have the audacity to comment on this blog on Memorial Day when we honor many of those who have been killed and maimed in the name of your bloody, terror and horror, mythical Allah. You are a typical, insolent, "Muslime" not worthy of being a member of the human race.

      May 26, 2014 at 3:47 pm |
    • realbuckyball

      Just because someone cooked up something and they included it in the Quran when they assembled it from it's many sources, (may of which were pre-existent in Arabic culture) does not mean they are true. Your premise is false. Things are not true by virtue of being in a human book.

      May 26, 2014 at 7:59 pm |
  14. Sheik Yerbouti

    The Qur'an and the OT/NT are books opposed to one another. Pea brains who believe these books are the cause of the majority of violence in our world, and have been for many hundreds of years. Peace can only come with secularism.

    May 26, 2014 at 12:32 pm |
    • workingcopy12

      And yet...

      French-Indian War...not religious
      America Revolution...not religious
      War of 1812...not religious
      Mexican-American War...not religious
      American Civil War...not religious
      Spanish American War...not religious
      WWI...not religious
      WWIII...not religious
      Korea...not religious
      Vietnam....not religious
      Grenada...not religious
      Panama....not religious
      Cold War....not religious
      Kuwait...not religious

      Are there examples of violence as result of religion...of course. Will getting rid of religion result in peace...history proves otherwise. Haters gonna hate (they don't need a reason).

      May 28, 2014 at 4:06 pm |
  15. Reality

    A peace conference at the Vatican? Give us a break!! The Koran specifically says:

    "Fight against such as those to whom the Scriptures were given [Jews and Christians]...until they pay tribute out of hand and are utterly subdued." (Surah 9:29-)

    Until this passage remains in the Koran, there will be no peace between Muslim countries and Israel.

    May 26, 2014 at 9:36 am |
    • Sheik Yerbouti

      They don't want peace. If they did they would have it.

      May 26, 2014 at 12:33 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.