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BENEDICT XVI: NEWS, PAPAL TEXTS, PHOTOS AND COMMENTARY

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MISSAL FOR HOLY LAND PILGRIMAGE
CAN NOW BE DOWNLOADED




The Vatican has now posted the missal for all the liturgies that the Pope will celebrate
during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It is 286 pp. long:
www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/libretti/2009/MessaleTerr...



Muslims in Holy Land are cool
to the Pope's coming visit -
still angry over Regensburg

by DIAA HADID


Excuse me, but did AP really expect the Muslims to be jumping for joy? I doubt whether the ordinary Muslim even cares that the Pope is visiting, unless he is prodded and drawn into any mass hysteria! But the way this item describes the Muslims of Nazareth is very disheartening, if not alarming for the Pope's security.




NAZARETH, Israel, April 29 (AP) — A banner across the main square in Jesus's boyhood town condemns those who insult Islam's Prophet Muhammad — a message by Muslim hard-liners for Pope Benedict XVI during his pilgrimage to the Holy Land next month. [The church in the photo background is the Basilica of the Annunciation.]

The Pontiff may have to tread carefully with his visit to Nazareth. Many Muslims are still angry over a 2006 speech in which Benedict quoted a medieval text depicting the prophet as violent.

Even some Christians are nervous that Benedict could stir up trouble for them. They worry that if he says anything contentious about Islam again, Muslims might lash out. [Why would 'Christians', for God's sake, expect the Pope to come to the Holy Land on a pilgrimage and say anything inflammatory about anybody???]

"He must know that every word he will utter will have an impact on Christian Palestinians and religious relations," said Naim Ateek, an Anglican reverend and director of Sabeel, an ecumenical Palestinian Christian group that includes Catholics. [And everyone now feels he must give tips to the Pope on how to behave himself!]

The banner was put up by followers of Nazem Abu Salim, a radical Muslim preacher, right next to the Church of the Annunciation, where tradition says the Angel Gabriel told Mary she would give birth to Jesus.

It is there for the Pope, Abu Salim said. "He is not welcome here."

The banner — clearly visible from the church, which Benedict is to visit — trumpets a verse from the Quran declaring, "Those who harm God and His Messenger — God has cursed them in this world and in the hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating punishment."

Municipal official Suheil Diab wouldn't say if the banner, along with a small sign in English with the verse, would be removed before the pope arrives May 14.

Benedict plans to meet with Muslim leaders, though not Abu Salim, throughout his May 8-15 tour of the Holy Land, which includes stops in Jordan, the West Bank, Jerusalem and Nazareth, one of Israel's largest Arab cities.

Islamic leaders in Israel are divided over the visit.

One of the leading Muslim groups in Israel, the Northern Islamic Movement, is calling for a boycott of meetings unless Benedict apologizes for his 2006 remarks, said a spokesman, Zahi Nujeidat.

The movement, which has not been invited to meet with the Pontiff, can marshal thousands of supporters, but has not yet decided whether to stage protests.

Other Muslim clerics said they would sit down with Benedict but ask for an apology. One of those is Sheik Taysir Tamimi, a leading cleric in the Palestinian Authority, which has welcomed the Pope's trip.

Muslims are a growing and increasingly assertive majority in Nazareth, which is 70 percent Muslim but has a communist mayor from the city's Christian community.

A decade ago, brawls erupted over Muslim attempts to build a mosque beside the Church of the Annunciation. The project was eventually thwarted. What remains is a stone-paved square and a small mosque, headed by Abu Salim.

Nazareth is one of the main cities for Israel's Arab minority, who make up around 20 percent of the country's 7 million people. Christians number around 120,000 of the Arab community, roughly half Catholic, half Eastern Orthodox.

Benedict's 2006 speech citing an obscure medieval text that characterized some of Muhammad's teachings as "evil and inhuman" sparked protests in the West Bank and Gaza — though not in Israel. Attackers fired guns and threw firebombs at Palestinian churches.

Benedict later said the text did not reflect his views, but many Muslims believe he did not apologize properly.

In Nazareth, the Pontiff is to visit the Church of the Annunciation, host an interfaith discussion and meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He'll also celebrate Mass on nearby Mount Precipice, where many Christians believe a mob pursued Jesus and tried to throw him from a cliff.

The Pope will strive to improve interfaith relations throughout his tour, said Wadi Abunassar, a spokesman for the Pontiff's visit.

Nazareth's local government has set aside $5 million to spruce up the crowded, shabby city overlooking the Galilee hills, hoping the papal visit will boost tourism, Mayor Ramiz Jaraisy said.

Few in Nazareth's bazaar show any excitement, however. Many remain bitter over Israel's offensive in Gaza against Hamas militants, which killed more than 1,000 Palestinians in December and January.

"People here are tired and exhausted from this situation," said Amin Ali, 72, an antique seller who described himself as a secular Muslim. "And nobody likes this Pope, anyway."

Benedict should use his visit to censure Israel over Gaza and the lack of progress in reaching peace with the Palestinians, said Ateek, the Anglican reverend.

"If the Pope is brave enough to do that, people will respect him more," Ateek said. [SPARE US THIS SANCTIMONY, PUH-LEEZE!!!!]

Palestinian protesters chant slogans against Pope Benedict XVI's Regensburg lecture following prayers
in front of the Dome of the Rock mosque in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City,
on Friday, Sept. 22, 2006
.






But that Nazareth imam who's leading the protest is not about to miss his 15 minutes of fame on the world staGe. Here's another alarmist - and alarming - report:

Nazareth Muslim cleric
prepares insult for Pope

by Hana Levi Julian



NAZARETH, April 30(IsraelNN.com) - Muslims led by a radical imam in the town where Jesus was said to be raised are not pleased at the prospect of a visit from the Pope, and have prepared a special insult with which to greet him.

Radical Imam Nazem Abu Salim inspired his followers to string up a banner across the main square of Nazareth with a blatant warning for Pope Benedict XVI: "Those who harm G-d and His Messenger – G-d has cursed them in this world and in the hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating punishment."

The words, lifted from the Koran, are translated into English in a small sign next to the banner, which is visible from the Church of the Annunciation, one of the sites the Pontiff will visit on May 18.

Abu Salim was clear that the purpose of the banner was to drive the Pope away: "He is not welcome here," he told an Associated Press reporter this week. [Thie manic imam is really bent on his jihad against the Pope!]

The Nazareth municipality has allocated some $5 million to upgrade its facilities in anticipation of the visit, hoping it will spark new tourism revenues, according to Mayor Ramiz Jaraisey, a Christian.

But another city official, Sueil Diab, refused to tell the AP reporter whether the offensive banner and sign would be removed before the Pope arrives.

More than half of the city's population – 70 percent – is Muslim, and has a record of occasionally intimidating the shrinking Christian community.

Relations have been tense between the two populations, particularly ten years ago, when Muslims attempted to build a mosque next to the church. Fist fights eventually put an end to the project, leaving a stone-paved square and a smaller mosque that serves Abu Salim's group.

The radical Northern Islamic Movement has called on all Muslim leaders to boycott interfaith meetings that are to be held throughout the Pope's visit to the region from May 8-15, unless he apologizes for remarks he made during a speech in 2006.

The Pope will meet with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and host an interfaith discuss while in Nazareth, and will celebrate Mass on nearby Mount Precipice. Benedict XVI will also be making stops elsewhere in the Palestinian Authority (PA) territories, as well as in Jerusalem and Jordan.

The Muslim anger at the pontiff is connected to his citation of an obscure medieval text that characterized some of the teachings of the founder of Islam as "evil and inhuman."

Benedict did not endorse the text, and made it clear that it did not reflect his own views, but Muslims insisted he issue a formal apology for using the citation, violently protesting and rampaging through streets in cities around the world.

Muslims attacked churches in the PA as well, firing guns and hurling firebombs at the buildings and worshippers.


[Edited by TERESA BENEDETTA 5/3/2009 10:59 PM]
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