If things go off on schedule Pope Francis is scheduled to visit Israel before the conclusion of Israeli Palestinian peace talks at the end of April.
The pope will discuss peace with regional leaders in a whirlwind visit of less than 48 hours.
The pope appears to be trying to give a push to the peace talks and insure that the Vatican’s desires are addressed. On the table are Vatican control of holy sites and the possible internationalization of Jerusalem under a UN Heritage mandate, to be overseen by the Pope and representatives of other regional religions as the capitol of two states.
Pope Francis plans to arrive in Israel Palestine March 25, 2014. The trip will last less than 48 hours, as the Roman pontiff will arrive in the morning hours on Sunday and leave the following night. The forward delegation sent on behalf of the Vatican finished its initial visit to Israel on Tuesday, and preparations are underway for the Bishop of Rome’s trip.
Francis will be in Jordan on Saturday and fly on a helicopter Sunday from Amman to Ben Gurion Airport where he will receive the official State reception. During his visit, the Pope will meet with President Shimon Peres and with various religious leaders in Israel to discuss the peace plan that is supposed to be completed by the end of April.
The pope will tour Yad Vashem, the Western Wall, and holy sites in Jerusalem. Unlike previous pontiffs, Francis will not visit sites in northern Israel.
Pope Francis will not host Mass for believers within Israel. The plan to host Mass in Jerusalem was cancelled because of the short nature of the visit. However, the pope will host a large Mass in Bethlehem – the headline event of his trip to the holy land. In Israel, officials are still hoping the Vatican will reconsider its decision and have the Pope host a second Mass within the country.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet the pope at Notre-Dame Church in east Jerusalem. At the Prime Minister’s Office, officials are not pleased with the fact that Netanyahu has to come to the pope, but they have been told that this has been done for previous popes.
At this time Francis has NOT been empowered as the final abomination. This trip is part of the peace dialogue only; and is not the biblical visit to the holy place by the abomination.