A Prayer and an Olive Branch

One way for a Pope to show goodwill to people of other faiths is to pray in their holy places. In Istanbul last week, Benedict XVI unexpectedly replicated a signature gesture by John Paul II in Jerusalem in 2000. Both won praise for their irenic moves.

Pope John Paul II

PLACE The Western Wall

GESTURE Tucked a note between the stones, asking God's forgiveness for ill done to Jews

EFFECT Helped decrease Jewish-Catholic tensions after a previous papal document apologized on behalf of Christianity's errant members but not for any acts of the church

Pope Benedict XVI

PLACE Sultan Ahmet Mosque


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