Pope: Theophilos III, reconciliation between Christians in a Holy Land in peace
In the Holy Land "the uncertainty of the situation and the lack of understanding between the parties continue to create insecurity, the restriction of fundamental rights, and the flight of many people from their land." Not to look for "full reconciliation" among Christians "today would be an even graver fault."
Vatican City (AsiaNews) - Building a path of "full reconciliation" between Christians and particularly Catholics and Orthodox in a Holy Land in which all violence must be rejected and everyone's right to a "stable peace" should be defended. This was the call launched by Pope Francis said in a meeting with Theophilos III (photo), Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, on a visit to Rome from 22 to 25 October.
In his speech, the Pope has addressed two main issues: ecumenism and peace in the Holy Land. On the first point he recalled "the warm welcome" he received from the Patriarch in Jerusalem and "the prayer at the Empty Tomb" in the Basilica that preserves the places of the Lord’s crucifixion, burial and Resurrection, expressing also satisfaction for the joint collaboration of Christians in the restoration work. "I want to reaffirm," he continued, "my heartfelt desire and commitment to progress on our way to full unity, in obedience to Jesus’ fervent prayer in the Cenacle “that they may all be one… so that the world may believe” (Jn 17:21). I know that past wounds continue to affect the memory of many people. It is not possible to change the past, but, without forgetting grave failures of charity over the centuries, let us look to a future of full reconciliation and fraternal communion, and take up the work before us, as the Lord desires. Not to do so today would be an even graver fault; it would be to disregard both the urgent call of Christ and the signs of the times sown by the Spirit along the Church’s path. Inspired by the same Spirit, may we not let the memory of times marked by lack of communication or mutual accusations, or present difficulties and uncertainty about the future, prevent us from walking together towards visible unity, nor hinder us from praying and working together to proclaim the Gospel and to serve those in need. "
As for the situation of the Holy Land, Francis, speaking of the "hat for decades have beset the Holy Land. The uncertainty of the situation and the lack of understanding between the parties continue to create insecurity, the restriction of fundamental rights, and the flight of many people from their land. I invoke God’s help in this, and I ask all those involved to intensify their efforts to achieve a stable peace based on justice and recognition of the rights of all. To this end, any kind of violence, discrimination or displays of intolerance against Jewish, Christian and Muslim worshipers, or places of worship, must be firmly rejected. The Holy City, whose Status Quo must be defended and preserved, ought to be a place where all can live together peaceably; otherwise, the endless spiral of suffering will continue for all."
The Pope concluded with “a particular greeting to the members of the various Christian communities in the Holy Land. It is my hope that they will continue to be recognized as an integral part of society and that, as citizens and believers in their own right, they can continue tirelessly to contribute to the common good and the growth of peace, striving to further reconciliation and concord. This contribution will be the more effective to the extent that there is harmony between the region’s different Churches. Particularly important in this regard would be increased cooperation in supporting Christian families and young people, so that they will not be forced to leave their land. By working together in this delicate area, the faithful of different confessions will also be able to grow in mutual knowledge and fraternal relations."