George Weigel argues that a real understanding of Pope Benedict's trip to the Middle East "must start at the true source of Benedict's own thinking: Scripture."
Excerpt: No matter how much the Vatican rightly insists that the primary purpose of† Benedict XVI's journeys outside Rome is to "strengthen the brethren"-as Christ instructed Peter to do-papal travel is inevitably political travel. Especially when that travel is to the Holy Land.
Wherever a pope visits, local interest groups and politicians will lobby for their pound of pontifical flesh, seeking to advance their causes or their ambitions through access to the man in the white simar. Moral credibility is particularly at stake whenever a pope visits a conflicted part of the world: Leaders may not really care what Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the United Nations, thinks of them, but just about everyone short of Kim Jong Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wants it known that the pope thinks that he or she is on the side of the angels.