Welcome Francis!

Papal trips have become important international events. They are a sign of the Church's opennes to the world, on the one hand, and a sign of a welcoming country, on the other. Pope Francis's trip to Israel later this month was postponed once because of a strike, but is on again for late May.

It happens that the most welcoming group may be the rabbis traveling from Latin America who plan to be in Jerusalem to meet him when he arrives. Israelis, who encouraged the trip, seem to be having second thoughts. There have been an uptick in "price-tag" attacks on Christian sites. Security officials fear that there will be disruptions during the visit. The police have asked Franciscans in Jerusalem to remove a banner welcoming the Pope. Should Francis stay home where he has his own curial troublemakers?

A round-up of the issues (which have been widely reported in the Israeli press).

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages.

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