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This week's pilgrimage to the Holy Land by Pope Benedict XVI has turned somewhat contentious.  We hear the assessments of Jews, Palestinians and Roman Catholic Christians.  Also, Richard Holbrooke testifies before Senate Foreign Relations Committee, seven astronauts are inspecting the shuttle Atlantis for damage as they head for the Hubble telescope.

Banner image: Pope Benedict XVI visits Temple Mount in Jersusalem, Israel. Photo: Ziv Koren/GPO via Getty Images

The Church

Richard McBrien

Making News Holbrooke Testifies before Senate Foreign Relations Committee 7 MIN, 4 SEC

Before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today, the President's special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan described his mission in stark terms. Evoking the attacks of September 11, he testified that terrorists “camped out” in Pakistan have pledged further violence against the US and other countries. Spencer Ackerman is senior reporter covering national security for the Washington Independent.

Spencer Ackerman, Daily Beast (@attackerman)

Main Topic The Papal Visit: Religion and Politics in the Middle East 35 MIN, 17 SEC

Pope Benedict the XVI threaded his way through the Middle East today as he continued his “pilgrimage” in Israel. He met the Palestinians' senior cleric, the Grand Mufti, at the Dome of the Rock, then left a prayer in a niche in the Western Wall, one of Judaism's holiest sites. Rabbis and politicians have criticized his speeches, and the Vatican denied that he'd ever belonged to Hitler Youth — contradicting the Pope himself. Will his visit help reinvigorate the peace process?  Will it be a boon for the diminishing number of Christians who still live in the Holy Land? 

Anshel Pfeffer, Ha'aretz (@AnshelPfeffer)
Richard McBrien, Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame
Alex Awad, United Methodist Missionary in Jerusalem
Mahdi Abdul Hadi, Chairman, Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs

The Salt of the Earth

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Reporter's Notebook Space Shuttle's Risky Mission to Fix Hubble Telescope 7 MIN, 46 SEC

The shuttle Atlantis is about 8000 miles from the Hubble Space Telescope and closing for the rendezvous and capture tomorrow. Yesterday’s liftoff of the shuttle Atlantis did unusual damage to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral. As they close in on the Hubble, the astronauts are inspecting Atlantis for damage.  Peter Spotts, staff writer for the Christian Science Monitor, considers the risks and potential rewards of the extraordinary mission.

Peter Spotts, Christian Science Monitor

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