Pope Benedict XVI - Essays and Reflections on His Papacy

Still Witnessing at the Empty Tomb

Still Witnessing at the Empty Tomb

Cardinal John Foley • Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem

After he appointed me Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Pope Benedict XVI kindly invited me to accompany him during his visit to the Holy Land. For me, a very memorable moment was when he faced the entrance to the Holy Sepulchre and he said that, like St. Peter, he was looking at the empty tomb and giving witness to the Resurrection of Jesus. He also thanked our Order of the Holy Sepulchre for all that the members have done for the Christians in the Holy Land. The most touching moment of the trip, however, was—in the quiet of Mount Calvary—seeing the Holy Father kneeling in silent prayer for almost 15 minutes at the spot where Jesus died and from which he was taken to his tomb just a few yards away. It is said that one of the most powerful arguments for religion is a strong man on his knees—and the Pope kneeling in silent prayer at the place of the Crucifixion of Jesus is in itself a powerful sermon.


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“By the bridges he is working to build between faiths, by his engagement in a global dialogue of mutual respect, His Holiness has won tremendous appreciation.”

King Abdullah of Jordan