Pope Benedict XVI and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia met yesterday in the Vatican, the tiny city-state from which the world of Roman Catholics is ruled. It was an important meeting to have had, this encounter of two leaders who doubtless see each other with cross eyes. As some of you may suspect, I have my doubts about that phenomenon called "dialogue." It is soppy and certainly not intellectually or spiritually rigorous. And they represent powerful bodies in the world that, on balance, are on the side of civilization, even if sometimes they have to be pushed.
Of course, they saw each other for half an hour. So, what with formalities and translations, they could not have spoken very substantially. Nonetheless, it was a beginning.