Benedict’s Controversial and Disappointing Visit

Why was the Pope’s visit to the Middle East overshadowed by so much controversy–from his call for an independent Palestinian homeland to his “disappointing” speech at the Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem, to the Vatican’s initial denial of his membership of the Hitler Youth, to his call in Bethlehem to remove Israel’s West Bank separation wall? What does this mean in light of the fact that Pope Benedict XVI is not only a religious leader, but also the political head of the Vatican State? What role will the Catholic Church play in the Middle East, and how will it use its “power” to attempt to bring peace to the region?

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