The Pope calls Abbas (to be) an Angel of Peace

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1759 map of the Holy Land, with the 12 tribes of Israel

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1759 map of the Holy Land, with the 12 tribes of Israel

1759 map of the Holy Land, with the 12 tribes of Israel

1759 map of the Holy Land, with the 12 tribes of Israel

There was a bit of commotion over the weekend over reports that Pope Francis had called Palestine president Mahmoud Abbas — whose nom de guerre is Abu Mazen — an “angel of peace.” The reports, it turned out, didn’t quite get it right. In Italian, the pope was actually speaking in the hortatory rather than declaratory mode — calling on Abbas to be an angel of peace, not saying he was one.

The right-wing media has naturally jumped on the mistranslation as evidence of mainstream media bias. “Of course,” writes Ellen Carmichael over at National Review Online, “this reveals the eagerness of some in the media to paint His Holiness as some valiant advocate for the progressive cause, and thus, an ally of Palestine over Israel.”

But of course that image of the pope is shared by many right-wingers, which explains why Commentary’s Jonathan Tobin jumped on the New York Times version of the story with “Sorry, Your Holiness, But Abbas is No Angel.” Tobin connected the remark to last week’s report that the Vatican had recognized the State of Palestine by announcing a forthcoming treaty between the two entities. That was also pretty much a non-story. As was pointed out by John Allen over at the Crux, the Vatican recognized Palestine as a state two-and-a-half years ago. But most of the media were unaware of that.

My guess is that what created the weekend’s non-story was precisely the connection drawn by Tobin: Recognition + Angel = Tilt Toward Palestine. The real story is that Francis was using his canonization of a couple of 19th-century Palestinian nuns to continue the push for peace between Israel and Palestine, which began with his visit to the Holy Land and continued with the visit of Abbas and former Israeli President Shimon Peres to the Vatican.

In other words: Trip + Visit + Treaty + Saints + Angel = Vatican Peace Initiative. Here’s hoping.

Update: Sia or Sei? A review of the tape suggests that the pope, intentionally or inadvertently, did in fact call Abbas an Angel of Peace.

Later update: OK, this seems definitive: the Pope in fact called Abbas “a bit of an angel of peace.” Now let’s see if there are any apologies to the MSM from the right.

  • Todd

    Will the real angel Gabriel please stand up and bring peace to the beleaguered Middle east. People are hurting real bad 🙁

  • opheliart

    ” … the Vatican recognized Palestine as a state two-and-a-half years ago. But most of the media were unaware of that. ”

    We are aware of the BROTHERHOOD, Mark.

  • Fran

    Jesus, as the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6,7) and King of God’s kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44) will soon bring true peace and security to all meek persons on earth (Isaiah 11:1-9).

    This will be accomplished during his upcoming millennial rule and all wicked ones will no longer exist on earth (Psalm
    37:10,11).

    True peace and security will not be forthcoming through any of man’s governments (Psalm 146:3).

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    I’m glad to see someone can tell the difference between calling on Abbas to be an “angel of peace” and not giving him that title as if he were one.
    The way the big media outlets cut and pasted the pope’s words (few quoted all the pope’s relevant words). is all too typical of the incompetence (or is it bias)–against Israel???? or the papacy??? of the mainstream news media. Or are all or most of the media’s stories on every topic or issue just as grossly mishandled by the news media.

  • opheliart

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/11-afghan-police-year-jail-mob-killing-woman-31139120

    Was this topic mishandled by the news media, John?
    We will be waiting to hear your pope denounce this … or not.

    Peace

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