Benedict First Pope to Visit Temple Mount

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JERUSALEM - Pope Benedict XVI became the first pontiff to visit Jerusalem's Temple Mount on Tuesday, as he prayed at the Western Wall and met with Muslim leaders. 

He also took part in a ceremony at Israel's Holocaust museum. 

At the Western Wall, the holiest site in Judaism, Pope Benedict submitted a prayer for peace in the Middle East, quoting the book of Lamentations. Earlier, he met with Muslim leaders, including the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, on the Temple Mount.
 
In an emotional ceremony Monday, Benedict laid a wreath at Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust museum. He also met with Holocaust survivors, and said his church will remember the victims.
 
"The Catholic church, committed to the teachings of Jesus and intent on imitating his love for all people, feels deep compassion for the victims remembered here," Pope Benedict XVI said.
 
Some were disappointed that the pontiff, who joined the Hitler Youth as a child, didn't mention the Nazis as the murderers of 6 million Jews.
 
"John Paul II spoke about millions of Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust," Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv Meir Lau said. "He (Benedict) didn't use the word 'murdered.'  He used the word 'killed.'  It's not the same.  He didn't say who killed them."
 
In the ugliest moment of his visit so far, the pope walked out of an interfaith meeting Monday at Jerusalem's Notre Dame Church after a Muslim sheik went on a rant attacking Israel for its actions in Gaza. The Vatican later condemned the act.
 
On Wednesday, Benedict will celebrate a mass at Manger Square in Bethlehem, the site marking the birthplace of Jesus Christ.  His visit will highlight the plight of the local Christian Church, which has seen thousands flee from the Holy Land.
 

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