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Pope Did NOT Call Palestinian President an Angel of Peace

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas

Once again, the media’s haste to further their own agenda has caused them to misquote a comment made by Pope Francis during a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in which he supposedly referred to the president as “an angel of peace”.

Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register is setting the record straight about comments supposedly made by Pope Francis during a meeting with President Abbas that were published by various news outlets such as the Associated Press, AFP, Reuters, the New York Times, etc. These outlets reported that the pope called Abbas an “an angel of peace” when he visited the Vatican on Saturday in preparation for the canonization of two Palestinian women on Sunday.

“The news caused consternation in Israel,” Pentin reports. “An Israeli foreign ministry spokesman responded by alluding to the Palestinian leader’s actions that run contrary to peace. Others pointed out that Abbas is certainly no angel of peace having long been accused of helping to finance the Munich Olympic massacre in 1972 and his close ties to former PLO leader Yasser Arafat.”

However, upon further investigation, it turns out that the Italian media reported the story correctly. For instance, according to La Stampa, after the pope gave Abbas a medallion with the figure of an angel of peace, Francis said: “The angel of peace destroys the evil spirit of war. I thought about you: may you be an angel of peace.” The same article mentioned that the Pope called Abbas a “man of peace” during his visit to the Holy Land in 2014, the same title he awarded to Israeli President Shimon Peres during the same visit.

Other Italian outlets, such as Il Giornale and TuttoperLei, also reported the exchange correctly.l

“This may have been a simple translation error: the exchange will have been reported back by two or three journalists who were part of the press pool to other reporters in the Holy See press office. They will have relayed the information in Italian, so native speakers might have been more likely to have reported it accurately,” Pentin said.

But others believe the press’ record of misreporting could mean the latest incident was intentional.

“The misreporting is especially regrettable as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu already felt sidelined by not being invited to last year’s peace summit in the Vatican Gardens,” Pentin said. Former Israeli president Shimon Peres represented Israel instead during that meeting.

Abbas remained in Rome and attended the canonization of Saints Mariam Baouardy (aka Mary of Christ Crucified) and Marie Alphonsine Danil Ghattas.

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