This week in a visit to Israel and the West Bank, "Pope Francis inserted himself directly into the collapsed Middle East peace process… issuing an invitation to host the Israeli and Palestinian presidents for a prayer summit meeting at his apartment in the Vatican, in an overture that has again underscored the broad ambitions of his papacy" (New York Times, May 25, 2014). "More broadly, Pope Francis’ actions on Sunday posed a striking example of how, barely a year into his papacy, he is seeking to reassert the Vatican’s ancient role as an arbiter of international diplomacy" (ibid.). Both presidents accepted the invitation to the Vatican "prayer summit," to be held on June 6 (ibid.).
While on his visit, the pope visited both Jewish and Muslim holy sites in an attempt to gain the trust of both groups. The pope’s ultimate goal is to promote the interests of Christianity in the Middle East, and his visit was designed to further that agenda (The Atlantic, May 27, 2014). Bible prophecies indicate that an end-time European Beast power, backed by a powerful world church, will control the Holy Land (Daniel 11:40-43; Revelation 13:11-17; 17:12-13). Future developments will give the Catholic Church and ultimately the head of the Beast power access to the Holy Land.
For more on this topic, be sure to read our article on "The Future of Jerusalem."