12/17/2015, 00.00
HOLY LAND
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Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem: Mercy "is the remedy for evil, war and violence"

In his Christmas message Msgr. Fouad Twal reflects on the Jubilee Year, which makes "the tenderness and closeness of God visible to the world." It is a "political act" that is opposed "to violence, oppression and injustice". Toned down Christmas celebrations, in favor of a "spiritual deepening." Trees and lights turned off for 5 minutes to remember the victims of terrorism.

Jerusalem (AsiaNews) - The Jubilee of Mercy opened by Pope Francesco Dec. 8 is "is the remedy for the ills of our time. It is through mercy that we make visible to the world the tenderness and closeness of God". This was underlined by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Fouad Twal, in his Christmas message addressed to the Christian community in the Holy Land.

Mercy, he warns, "is not limited to individual relationships but embraces public life in all its sectors (political, economic, cultural, social), at all levels (international, regional and local) and in all directions (between states, peoples, cultures and religions)”.

The Latin Patriarch notes that  mercy " is a political act par excellence”, it “is a principal component opposed to violence, oppression, injustice, and the spirit of domination.” “In this Jubilee Year”, he adds, "we invite pilgrims to visit the Holy Land" without any fear, because "despite the tense situation in this land, the pilgrim route is safe and they are respected and appreciated by all sectors in the Holy Land".

He speaks of the  "core value of education" against violence, recalling "the bitter struggle" waged by the Christian schools of Israel against the cuts decided by the government. He underlines the relevance of the document Nostra Aetate, 50 years after its publication, "the text - he says - probably the most revolutionary document of the Second Vatican Council…lays out the foundation for dialogue between the Church and non-Christian religions "

Introducing the Christmas celebrations, His Beatitude says that "The current political situation suggests for moderate celebrations and deepening our spiritual sense of this remembrance.  For this reason, we invite every parish to switch off Christmas tree lights for five minutes in solidarity with all victims of violence and terrorism.  Similarly, our Christmas Mass will be offered for the victims and their families, that they take to heart, the participation in the joy and peace of Christmas".

The birth of Jesus, says Twal, is the "feast of the Light, that shines in the night, a celebration of joy, hope and peace." Echoing the words of Pope Francis, however, he recalls that "the world continues to make war." The famous "piecemeal World War III" mentioned the Argentine pontiff which - warns the patriarch - "is unfolding before our eyes in our region".

"We are tired of this conflict - he says - and to see our beloved Holy Land caught in the vicious cycle of bloody violence!". For this he appeals "to the Israeli and Palestinian leaders" to "give courage, and to work for a stable peace based on justice". Today’s world is “facing an unprecedented terrorist threat.  A deadly ideology based on religious fanaticism and obstinacy is spreading terror and barbarism amidst innocent people". It has affected "Lebanon, France, Russia, the United States; but war has been raging for years in Iraq and Syria". "These terrible wars - said Patriarch Twal - are driven by arms trade, involving several international powers "; but "the military response and the use of force can not solve the problems of humanity."

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