Pope in the Holy Land Chat Transcript

Father Richard John Neuhaus chatted with Beliefnet about the pope's recent visit to the Holy Land and John Paul II's papacy on Yahoo, Monday, March 27, at 6 p.m. EST. As with all chats, this transcript is unedited.



: Beliefnet welcomes Father Richard John Neuhaus. He heads the Institute on Religion and Public Life and is editor in chief of First Things magazine. His latest book, published this year, is "Death on a Friday Afternoon: Meditations on the Last Words of Jesus From the Cross" (Basic Books).


: It's very good to be with you. I'm eager to see what questions are proposed.


asks: What is the significance of the pope's visit to the holy land?


: I think that it's going to be one of those few moments that will, in retrospect, be rightly called historic for Jewish-Christian relations, and also for Muslim-Christian relations, and for its powerful representation of the core beliefs of Christianity.



asks: Was the pope's visit religious or political in meaning?


: It was certainly religious and spiritual in its focus. It's properly called not just a visit but a pilgrimage. A pilgrimage to the Holy Land. Only secondly is it a visit to Palestine, Israel, and other political entities of the region.


asks: Since Vatican II, how connected, really, is today's Catholic Church with that of the church in past centuries? Hasn't the modern Catholic Church schismed itself away from its past?


: No, I don't think so. Sometimes people talk about the pre- and post-Vatican II church, as though there were two churches. But in historical fact, there has been only one church. And in theological terms, there can be only one church, because there is only one Christ and the church is the Body of Christ.

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