Saturday, Sept. 16, 1978
Pope John Paul I met today with President Mohamed Said Barre of Somalia. (AP) Is it appropriate for the pope to meet with the autocratic rulers of totalitarian states, such as Barre of Somalia? On one hand, “Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do.” (Mark 2:17) Such conversations hold the possibility of prompting humanitarian concessions and domestic reforms. On the other hand, such meetings can extend legitimacy to tyrants, deepening the suffering of the innocents under their rule. In the Gospels we see that Jesus Christ dialogued with Governor Pontius Pilate; however, the Lord refused to even speak to King Herod Antipas.
What was the difference between the Pilate and Herod?
Whom should the pope meet with and whom should he refuse?