Speaking with Catholic News Service, the prince welcomed the pope’s decision to have a rabbi and a Muslim leader accompany him on the three-day visit to Jordan, Israel and the Palestinian territories. Observers believe the gesture underscores the importance the pope attaches to interreligious dialogue.
“Whether Jewish, Christian or Muslim, extremists seem to be doing their best to bring about Armageddon, rather than work toward any form of convivial solution whereby the Holy Land is not only holy in name and description, but also in perspective of the future,” the prince said.
“That’s why His Holiness’ visit accompanied by a Jew and Muslim, I think, is more than just symbolic,” he said in a May 17 interview.
Rabbi Abraham Skorka and Muslim leader Omar Abboud who will be part of the official Vatican delegation, are friends of Pope Francis from his native Argentina. The pope invited them to make the trip with him in order to send what Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, called, “an extremely strong and explicit signal” about the importance of interreligious dialogue in the Middle East, one of the world’s most troubled and conflict-ridden regions.