From today's headlines:
Pope Francis met the grand imam of Cairo's Al-Azhar Mosque at the Vatican on Monday in a historic encounter that was sealed with a hugely symbolic hug and exchange of kisses.
The first Vatican meeting between the leader of the world's Catholics and the highest authority in Sunni Islam marks the culmination of a significant improvement in relations between the two faiths since Francis took office in 2013.
"Our meeting is the message," Francis said in a brief comment to a small pool of reporters present at the start of his meeting with Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb.Hugely symbolic! And in case you didn't 'get it', the Pope spelled it out for you: "Our meeting is the message."
What exactly that message is supposed to be is unclear, but I suspect if pressed the Pope would explain 'That this is a hugely symbolic meeting!' Perhaps he would add that it's 'a pretty big deal.'
Likewise unclear is where the improvement of relations is showing up. Will Christians be killed less in muslim countries? Was there an agreement to scale back punishments for Christian converts in muslim countries? Was there any indication of any change along these lines whatsoever?
Spoiler alert: there was not. In fact, there was nothing but a photo op, which the most humble pope ever eats up.
But the article is great, if only for this line:
Ties were badly soured when the now-retired Benedict made a September 2006 speech in which he was perceived to have linked Islam to violence, sparking deadly protests in several countries and reprisal attacks on Christians.All that's missing is Francis declaring that no true muslim would ever kill for their faith, and for THAT to be interpreted as an insult which spawns all kinds of reprisal attacks.