There have been no peace outcomes from Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the Holy Land in May, according to the Patriarch of Jerusalem.
“The Pope came as a man of dialogue; he called for peace. But until now we haven’t [seen] any fruit from this visit", Archbishop Fouad Twal told The Tablet on a visit to London last week.
I was at a Mass he celebrated at Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday night, and was struck by the tone of lament in what he said and how he said it.
That's nothing new: what Patriarch Twal told the congregation was almost exactly what his predecessor, Michel Sabbah, used to say: that there was absence of rule of law, that Christians were emigrating because of the economic catastrophe caused by Israeli security measures, and that occupation and settlements were producing hostility, suspicion and despair.
But that's what's surprising -- that it's the same old lament. After all, in the Obama presidency, surely, we finally have a US government willing to talk tough on the annexation of Palestinian lands and the expansion on them of Israeli settlements.
Yet if the tough talking -- so far ignored on the ground by Israelis -- has impressed Patriarch Twal, he's not saying so.
In his homily he criticized "politicians who are more afraid of peace than of war, and who prefer to manage conflict than to end it."