"As Pope Francis heads to Jordan, Bethlehem and Jerusalem this weekend, he’s bringing along two old friends from Argentina: Rabbi Abraham Skorka, who co-wrote a book with the Pope, and Sheikh Omar Abboud, who leads Argentina’s Muslim community.
The Vatican says it’s the first time that a pope’s official entourage has included interfaith leaders.
In a region roiled by competing religious and political visions, Francis’ chosen companions communicate an unmistakable message, church officials said.
'It’s highly symbolic, of course,' said the Rev. Thomas Rosica, a consultant to the Vatican press office.
'But it also sends a pragmatic message to Muslims, Christians and Jews that it’s possible to work together - not as a system of checks and balances but as friends.'"
to read more: religion.blogs.cnn.com
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