Mideast Peace Possible: Pope at Holy Sepulcher

Benedict makes pilgrimage to Jerusalem church
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 15, 2009 7:13 AM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI listens before the Anointing Stone, where the body of Jesus is said to have been washed after it was taken down from the cross, in Jerusalem's Church of the Holy Sepulcher today.   (PIER PAOLO CITO)
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(Newser) – Pope Benedict XVI assured his followers in the Holy Land that peace is possible, as he ended his Mideast visit today as a pilgrim to the site of Jesus' crucifixion. A traditional escort of men in black robes and red fezzes accompanied the pontiff as he entered the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem, rhythmically banging staffs on the ground to announce his approach. Benedict knelt down and kissed the rectangular stone on which Jesus' body is believed to have been placed after the crucifixion.

"The Gospel reassures us that God can make all things new, that history need not be repeated, that memories can be healed, that the bitter fruits of recrimination and hostility can be overcome, and that a future of justice, peace, prosperity and cooperation can arise for every man and woman," the pope told a crowd gathered in the church. Benedict's 5-day trip, which is earning him mixed reviews, was his first to Israel and the Palestinian territories as pontiff.