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Pope to visit traditional site of Christ's baptism

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Pope to visit traditional site of Christ's baptism


On his last full day in Jordan, Pope Benedict will celebrate an open-air Mass and pray at the site where Christians believe Jesus was baptised.

It is the latest stage in a closely-watched Middle East tour in which the pontiff aims to improve strained ties with both Muslims and Jews. On Saturday, he was given a warm welcome at the Greek-Melkite Cathedral of St George in Amman. The Pope’s packed agenda also included a visit to the city’s biggest mosque. Striving to mend fences with Islam, Benedict urged Christians and Muslims to jointly defend religion from political manipulation. He was publicly reminded of the offence caused to Muslims by a speech he made in 2006, seen by some as linking Islam to violence. But Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad thanked the Pope for subsequently expressing regret for the hurt caused. Some Jordanian clerics said they were disappointed that the papal visitor had failed to offer a new and full apology.

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