After he said Mass in Bethlehem on May 25, Pope Francis announced that Israeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas had accepted his invitation to come to the Vatican to meet together with him. The date set for the meeting is June 8 — Pentecost.
The purpose of the meeting is strictly prayer, not mediation, and that has been made clear by both Pope Francis upon announcing his invitation and by the Vatican Press Office in subsequent statements.
Since the news of the meeting broke, I’ve read reports and commentaries that label it “just” a prayer meeting, and that concerns me. It’s much more than a prayer meeting — it’s a concrete step in the right direction.