Pope Francis IV: Love for Palestine and respect for Zionism

The Pope's visit to Palestine by definition was a trip where religious and political representation merged, diplomacy and the essential characteristics of civilizations found means to be represented

Pope Francis IV: Love for Palestine and respect for Zionism

Akif Emre

There were firsts during the Jerusalem visit of Pope Francis in the name of Vatican, just as in the previous Papal visits. Even by personally acknowledging Israel and entering Jerusalem, new interpretations, concessions, reconciliations, his political representation and relations in terms of Christian theology are under way.

As a matter of fact, to consider international politics as purely a strategic game and international interests is generally misleading. I find it more reasonable to think that international politics, with all this, or independently, is the practical application and the justification field of a civilization through its relationships with others.

The Pope's visit to Palestine by definition was a trip where religious and political representation merged and diplomacy and the essential characteristics of civilizations found the means to be represented.

In addition to its political, diplomatic, and strategic dimensions in his visit to Palestine, unless its cultural, religious symbols were read the way how they reflect as a diplomatic mean, this trip would be misinterpreted. Just as no analysis can be done independently from politics and international balances regarding this field, in which the three religions are intersecting with each other, analyzes which do not take account of its historical, religious, and cultural dimensions that are underlying in its background are not only missing but also a misleading.

The targets of the diplomatic negotiations and their results that the Pope with the Palestinian state head and Israel's president implemented has an important place at least in the Catholic world which the papacy represents. First let us take a look at the semiotics of this trip in which politics, diplomacy, religious and cultural symbols are intertwined.

The firsts were: For the first time a pope visited the grave of the founder of Zionism, Theodor Herzl. Another first was that he was the first pope who officially visited Palestine.

While the both firsts are revealing the deep contradictions of the Catholic Church, at the same time are the form of reflection to diplomacy regarding the reflex of their demands for resolution as to what kind of reconciliation/religious and political concessions they will give. The question of Palestine—Zionism both in the religious and political sense is one of the most intense fields of reconciliation/concession tension of the church, which always solves its questions between the religious and secular view points through concessions and which tries to maintain by adapting to changes through this way.

Considering the visit to the grave of Theoder Herzl in terms of its place and meaning from the viewpoint of Judaism and Catholic theology, it is completely a chain of contradictions. The unbridgeable gap of contradictions are that while defending the right of the Palestinian state and arguing for expelling them from their lands and even to give blessings to the founder of the Zionist ideology by whom what Christians accept as the holy land passed into the hands of Zionism for the first time.

Just as how acknowledging Israel was an event that shocked the Catholic world, to respect the founder of Zionism, can in fact be read as an indicator of undermining the show of good intention and diplomatic support for Palestinians.

Even if the adaptation of both contradictions is considered cunningness, to account how the church accepted the two diametrically opposite realities, that the religious authority can be comprehended through the glance of its deep contradictions within the church history.

Apart from the diplomatic results, the Pope has recently signed another intra-Christian contradiction. First the Pope came together with Patriarch Bartholomew. Thus, the Jerusalem gathering was renewed between the two major churches.

Considering that a substantial amount of Christian Arabs in the Middle East and Palestine are orthodox, it was impossible for the Catholic world that its influence would be realized anywhere else other than Jerusalem, which is considered as a holy land from its viewpoint.

Just as in the case that it both conveyed the message of the state right to Palestinians and showed respect to the founder of the ideology which expelled them from their own land, that he prayed before the wall of shame, which bartered Palestine, symbolized a deep contradiction.

The wall before which the Pope prayed is the diverting line between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. It is regarding not only geography, politics or culture but also history that Bethlehem is separated from Jerusalem in such a certain way. Undoubtedly, Palestinians are facing political, economic, and practical outcomes of the wall everyday. However, looking into it from the spiritual perspective of what the Vatican represents, it is indifferent to set a wall between Bethlehem and Jerusalem than taking the prophet Jesus peace be upon him away from Mary peace be upon her.

The meaning that the Vatican represents both in the sense of praying for the politics which constructed the wall and talking about peace is such a great contradiction that summarizes the Vatican's historical and theological contradictions.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 04 Haziran 2014, 16:35