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  • » 01/13/2011, 00.00

    ISRAEL – PALESTINE

    European and North American bishops complain Israel-Holy See negotiations dragging on



    The Holy Land Co-ordination complains that “the Pope’s words during his visit in 2009 to allow ease of movement for Catholic clergy and Religious seem to have gone unheard.” The bishops tell Christians from around the world “that every visit to the Holy Land brings benefits both to pilgrims and the people who live here, especially the Christian community.”
    Jerusalem (AsiaNews) – The Holy Land Co-ordination, which brings together bishops from Europe and North America, held its 11th meeting in Jerusalem where it met with local political and religious leaders. In their final communiqué, the bishops acknowledged a number of positive developments but also some negative elements in the region’s situation. They also outlined their commitment for future actions. One of them is to encourage Christians from around the world to visit the Holy Land in pilgrimage. “We believe that every visit to the Holy Land brings benefits both to pilgrims and the people who live here, especially the Christian community,” the statement read.

    In their strong-worded appeal, the bishops called on Israel to conclude the negotiations with the Holy See on the status of religious communities. “Despite some tangible improvements in the visa allocation, we have once again been made painfully aware of the frustration felt by some Catholic clergy and Religious whose daily tasks are made difficult by restrictions on their movement. Our brother Bishops have told us with sadness that the Pope’s words during his visit in 2009 to allow ease of movement for Catholic clergy and Religious seem to have gone unheard. We strongly urge a conclusion to the lengthy negotiations between the Holy See and the State of Israel.”

    The bishops are indeed aware of the difficulties of living in the Holy Land, “of the suffering of those people whose marriages are put under enormous strain by the demands of “security” and religious differences, by individuals and communities whose land and property has been damaged or taken from them, including by the route and construction of the wall, and by the people whose lives are made so difficult by the situation where they live in Gaza.”

    Even though Palestinian Prime Minister Fayyad told the bishops that more Palestinians are returning than leaving, the former “are deeply concerned at too many cases where people’s dignity is ignored or insulted.”

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    See also

    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.

    17/12/2007 HOLY LAND
    Joint Israeli-Vatican commission makes no real progress
    Commission member Monsignor Vegliò and Custodian of the Holy Land Father Pizzaballa share this view. Both discuss the situation of Christians in the Holy Land, stressing the different situations they live depending on whether they live in Israel or the Palestinian Territories. Father Lombardi reiterates that “conditions for a papal visit [. . .] are not yet in place.”

    27/02/2008 ISRAEL – VATICAN
    For Christians talks with Israel are about vital issues, says nuncio
    Mgr Antonio Franco says progress is being made, acknowledging the Jewish State is showing great understanding. He looks at the situation in which Christian communities find themselves in the Holy Land, explaining that a papal trip to the region requires greater serenity.

    03/12/2004 ISRAEL – VATICAN
    Israeli Ambassador cautiously optimistic about negotiations with Vatican
    It was our fault if Israel-Vatican talks were stalled, says Ambassador Ben Hur. Fr David Jaeger, of the Custody of the Holy Land, is grateful for Mr Ben Hur's 'tireless work'.

    06/09/2004 VATICAN - ISRAEL
    Guarded optimism about the resumption of negotiations

    Statements by Mg Pietro Sambi, Apostolic delegate to Jerusalem, and Oded Ben Hur, Israel's Ambassador to the Holy See.





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