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  • » 05/24/2004, 00.00


    Cardinal Kasper visits Jerusalem

    The cardinal is scheduled to discuss the issue of visas for religious and the emigration of Christians from the Holy Land.

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Meetings with political and religious leaders, from Israeli president Moshe Katzav to the Jewish community's chief rabbis and heads of Christian Churches, are all scheduled to take place on Cardinal Walter Kasper's trip to Jerusalem.

    Cardinal Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity and the Commission for Relations with Jews, will begin his trip to Jerusalem in the Holy Land, today and will conclude his stay this May 28. 

    The Vatican prelate will take up discussion on various delicate matters such as the issue of entry visas for the Church's religious personnel and the status of its property and institutions in the Holy Land.

    The cardinal will also speak with political and religious authorities about the growing exodus of Catholic communities out of the region in the face of great difficulties. 

    Before departing for the Holy Land, Cardinal Kasper said during an interview on Vatican Radio that his visit must first of all encourage inter-religious relations: "We have a good commission made up of a mix of Jews and Catholics in Israeli," he said.

    Kasper added later in the interview, "There are political problems concerning visas and Christian properties (there)."

    Regarding the emigration problem he said,"Young Christians still do not have much hope, and this leads to a major exodus from the region. This has caused great harm (to the community), since the Christian Church has had a strong presence for centuries in the Holy Land. If we go (there) we don't want to be considered mere lifeless rocks, but living ones. All this must be faced and discussed."

    The cardinal will also meet with Church leaders, particularly with the patriarch of the Orthodox Church and the ecumenical patriarch "since it is necessary that (all the Christian) Churches work together in these difficult times for the peace and common good not just of the Jewish people but of the Palestinian population as well."

    "They are suffering greatly and we stand united behind them," Kasper said.

    The cardinal ended by promising, "Certainly, I will meet also with members of the Catholic community who find themselves in a difficult situation (too) and are in need of much encouragement and words of hope."
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    See also

    14/09/2004 VATICAN - ISRAEL
    Israeli Minister Poraz meets Cardinal Sodano

    13/04/2004 ISRAEL - VATICAN
    Israeli Commission searching for solution regarding visas for religious personnel


    13/09/2004 ISRAEL - VATICAN
    Interior Minister Poraz to visit Vatican tomorrow

    Taxes on Church properties in the Holy Land will be on the discussion table.

    31/10/2009 VATICAN - ISRAEL
    Israel restricts visas for priests and religious in the Holy Land
    Two African priests denied visas, the priests from Europe reduced to a one year visa. Church authorities are worried (for now) afraid to raise their voice for fear of the consequences. The cause for restrictions: the fundamentalism of the Shas party. The Fundamental Agreement of '93 establishes freedom of the Church in being able to "deploy" its staff in the land of Christ. At risk the universal and international character of the Church. A new "visas crisis”is about to break out.

    18/02/2005 ISRAEL – HOLY LAND - VATICAN
    Patriarch and Nuncio to visit village where Druze attacked Christians
    This Sunday leaders from all Christian Churches will visit the village of Maghar where Druze attacks forced 2,000 Christians to flee as Israeli police looked on. Israeli authorities call the violence against Melkite Catholics a pogrom. Christians did not respond to attacks.

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