ELCJHL: You were invited to visit Pope Francis in Jordan, Palestine, and Israel?
Bishop Younan: Yes, I was invited to the meeting with Pope Francis in Amman at the King’s Palace. All of the Heads of Churches, the Royal court and governmental ministers, attended this meeting, as well as Pope Francis’s delegation. King Abdullah II delivered a very important speech in which he spoke on two major issues: the role of Jordan in Muslim-Christian relations as highlighted in the Amman Message and the Common Word and the need for a solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. In response, the Pope emphasized the importance of relationships with Muslims and the good work that Jordan has been doing in interfaith work, as well as emphasizing the Christian community that has been quietly witnessing in the Middle East for 2,000 years. The Pope asked to greet this community.
On Sunday, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas gave a clear message on the Palestinian issue that it is time to solve it and that there are obstacles – the settlements, the Judiazation of Jerusalem, but we are still committed to non-violent struggle and for dialogue. Pope Francis’s message to Palestine was that it must have internationally-recognized borders with two states that can live side-by-side in peace, equity, and reconciliation.