Pope’s peace summit a turning point, even without peace

The Boston Globe

By John L. Allen Jr.

Pope FrancesIsraeli President Shimon Peres and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas joined Pope Francis at the Vatican. CLAUDIO PERI/EPA

ROME — Hours before he convened an unprecedented Vatican prayer service for peace in the Middle East, Pope Francis told a crowd gathered in St. Peter’s Square that “a church that doesn’t have the capacity to surprise … is a dying church.”

By that standard, Francis showed that Catholicism on his watch is alive and kicking by delivering one of the greatest surprises of his papacy — a peace summit that’s likely to have no immediate impact whatsoever on the Middle East peace process, but that yet still managed to feel like a historic turning point.