Before his recent tour of the Middle East, Pope Francis said his trip would be “purely religious.” Yet, even the infallible Catholic leader could not avoid a dip in the muddy waters of Middle Eastern politics.

These five articles recall the political highlights of the Pope’s trip, and beg the question: what political action can we expect on June 8th, when a “prayer for peace” will be held at the vatican?

1. For the first time in history, the Pope mentioned the “State of Palestine” and made a contentious visit to the West Bank security barrier. (Click photos for to read the relevant articles.) image (photo credit: AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

2. During his opening speech in Israel, Pope Francis was pretty frank about out his political vision.

image(photo credit: AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTE)

3. Israel’s answer to the  West Bank security barrier visit: the Pope visited the memorial for victims of terrorism.

image(photo credit: Avi Ohayon/GPO/Flash90)

4. On the last day of his visit, Pope Francis visited the Western Wall, where he left a prayer note, and said a prayer at the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum. Additionally, in a clear political move, Pope Francis became the first Bishop of Rome to leave a wreath at the grave of Zionism’s Founder.

image(photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO/Flash90)

5. The developing relationship between Pope Francis and President Peres is touching. Last year, Peres even received a birthday card from the Catholic leader. The relationship also led to a bit of controversy when Peres was chosen rather than Prime Minister Netanyahu to join Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas for the upcoming prayer at the Vatican.


image(photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Leave your opinion. Where do you think the Pope lies on the political spectrum?