Today, Pope Benedict XVI embarks on his Middle East tour. First stop is Jordan, with an itinerary that covers three days of meetings and masses. One of his visits will be to “Bethany beyond the Jordan“, which lays claim to being the place where Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist.
This is being considered quite a coup for the Jordanians, who have prioritised the promotion of the baptism site “more than any other” tourist spot. Since none of the other rivals for the title of being the baptismal location are included on the regional trip, it is fair to see the pope’s visit as an endorsement of a location that in recent years has succeeded in overshadowing the competition over the border. Read more