In the midst of the historic meeting at the Vatican where the presidents of Israel and the Palestinian Authority came together at the unexpected request of Pope Francis, another first occurred days earlier.
TV host and now WABC Radio host Rita Cosby had the rare opportunity to speak to the Pontiff about his Mideast peace initiative, in which he told the Emmy-winning former Fox News star: “Pray, Pray, Pray,” for the peace process. A year into his papacy, this signaled the new Pope’s determination to play a role in the perennial search for Mideast peace. It showed he is intent on taking on the task of peacemaker, and with this very visible prayer summit, he has already gone well beyond the point to which previous Pontiffs have ventured in the past.
It also was another great scoop for Cosby, whose exclusive meetings over the years read like a list of “Who’s Who in the World,” ranging from five U.S. Presidents to dictators like Muammar Gaddafi and her memorable calls from Yasser Arafat which made many international headlines. Cosby talked about her conversation with Pope Francis on her new WABC Radio show and added a surprising twist–that she asked her questions all in Spanish to appeal to the Argentine Jesuit in his native language. The strategy clearly worked and gave insight into what lies ahead and how passionate this Pope is about trying to find a pathway to peace–even in the volatile Middle East.
In the end, Sunday’s meeting at the Vatican showed a glimmer of hope that both sides can find common ground and do so with dignity when faith fills a powerful void that politicians have found so elusive. There was something optimistic in the air when one saw these very disparate world leaders walking alongside the Pope and embracing.
There was also something very refreshing about a journalist using real “shoe leather” to get what she describes as “a once in a lifetime” opportunity. Getting the Pope to talk about Mideast peace is probably the biggest journalistic coup, even for the most seasoned reporter. Doing it in Spanish, staying on point, and getting it right amidst forty thousand of the faithful screaming, “We Love You Papa Francis!” in St. Peter’s Square… Now that’s, as the Pontiff himself would say… a miracle!
Read the transcript of the full exchange:
Rita: Peace in the MiddleEast is possible with faith? You think? (Spanish)
Pope: With the Lord it is possible. (Italian)
Rita: Do you think that with faith everything is possible? (Spanish)
Pope: With the Lord everything is possible. (Italian)
Rita: Also faith in the Middle East? (Spanish)
Pope: With the Lord, we must pray for peace. (Italian)
Rita: I hope so. Thank you for everything. Thank you. (Spanish)
Pope: Thank you. (Italian)
Rita: Thank you to you. How fantastic. Is there something you want to say to that process? (Spanish)
Pope: Pray, Pray, Pray. (English)
Rita: Thank you, Thank you. (Spanish)