12/29/2010, 00.00
ISRAEL – PALESTINE
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Build bridges of peace, not walls, Jerusalem Churches say

Christian religious leaders in the Holy Land release a statement for Christmas in which they call on the international community to work for peace because “Too many people live under the threat of violence and political persecution.” Religion’s role is to bring hope and peace. Christians, Jews and Muslims work together in the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The heads of the Churches of Jerusalem urge Christians to build bridges of peace. Believers have a fundamental and determining role in realising and preserving peace, the heads said in their Christmas message. In it, they call on the international community to work for an end to all violence.

Signed among others by Mgr Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, and Fr Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Custodian of the Holy Land, the statement notes, “Too many people live under the threat of violence and political persecution. [. . .] We condemn violence in any form,” which “has not and can never be accepted as the way to bring about a just and lasting peace between peoples.”

For the religious leaders, “the role of the Church” is “to be one of encouraging all people to build bridges of understanding and not walls of separation.”

They “believe that hope for peace and reconciliation requires our active participation as people of faith. For hope to remain alive in the hearts of the faithful, we must take an active role in bringing hope for peace into reality.”

Similarly, they “take a serious role in building bridges of peace and reconciliation through our participation in the Council of Religious Institutions of the Holy Land,” an institution that “brings together Christian, Jewish and Muslim leaders to discuss issues of shared concern for our people here and for mutual understanding around the world.”

In fact, the council “is an encouraging example to our people and to the world that in building bridges, God’s peace is possible.”

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