Disclosing Pope Francis’ Prayer At Jerusalem’s Wailing (Western) Wall Is Plain Wrong.
by Anura Guruge
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To me this is wrong on multiple levels.
1. I am not an expert on prayer but I had thought that prayers were supposed to be private and confidential. Does the “The Western Wall Heritage Foundation” divulge any and all prayers placed in the Wall at will — though I am sure they had to have got approval from the Vatican before they released the pope’s prayer.
2. Though I grew up in a family steeped in prayer I as an adult was totally confounded by the notion of prayer. So I don’t actually get why people, especially supposedly rational adults, pray BUT I fully appreciate that it is their prerogative.
3. Though I, as a committed papal historian, better understand that Jesus was born a Jew and died a Jew (and would be totally confounded if he saw what Saul (sic.) did to his teachings) I think a pope praying at the Wailing (Western) Wall is but politics, posturing and pandering. [Yes, I also think that the Pope inviting Shimon Peres, President of Israel, and Mahmoud Abbas, President of Palestine to the Vatican to pray for peace on June 8 is just political theater.]
4. If praying at the Wailing Wall is so profound and potent why don’t we already have peace in the Middle East?
5. As an historian it bothers me to see folks defacing an ancient, very historic artifact — i.e., the Western Wall. That Wall should be preserved, sans human contact, as we now do with the Parthenon and Stonehenge (and I talk as one that was lucky enough to visit both before they banned public encroachment). Sticking pieces of paper into it always makes me cringe. To me it is sacrilegious to poke holes in this historic monument. (And yes, I had a puppy, Rosseau, that lifted up his leg and peed on each and every one of the stones in Stonehenge c. 1972.)
6. Israel, as I well know (having done tons of consulting for Israeli companies from 1992 — 2000) is big into technology. So why this archaic, primitive and, of course, ultra superstitious means of praying. Sticking pieces of paper into a crumbling wall. Can’t they just provide a bank of iPads in front of the Wall whereby the gullible can just e-mail their prayers to God or maybe just send a Tweet if they can keep it succinct? The paper things seems so outdated and puerile like Buddhist using prayer wheels and prayer flags to cast prayers to the wind.
7. The Pope using the Lord’s Prayer as his prayer was trite and maybe even insulting to his hosts. Lets face it, they don’t exactly subscribe to all that is in the Lord’s Prayer — though they should.
Enough said. Peace.
P.S., Don’t worry. I have at least a dozen folks, including a number of Catholic priests, that pray for me, hoping that I will see the light. Cracks me up how many times I get told, via e-mail, that my name got mentioned during a Mass because folks are praying that I will change my mind about prayer. Bless them.