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In The News
   
 
 

 

In The News

 

March 16 - Vatican’s twisted priorities / Op-ed: instead of focusing on decline of Arab Christianity, Catholic Church chooses to demonize Israel

Article: Roman Catholic Church And The Last Days

In a special interview with Die Tagespost last week, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, named by Pope Benedict to represent the Vatican in the Jewish State, declared that “Israel's existence as such has nothing to do with the Bible.” He then compared Christians’ condition in today’s Jerusalem with Jesus’ Passion: “We Christians never forget that even our Lord himself suffered and was mocked in Jerusalem.”

Twal's position on Israel and the Bible has been embraced at the highest levels in the Catholic Church. The Vatican synod in 2010 declared that Israel cannot use the Biblical concept of a promised land or a chosen people. “We Christians cannot speak about the Promised Land for the Jewish people”, the synod’s document said. “There is no longer a chosen people. The concept of the promised land cannot be used as a base for the justification of the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of Palestinians.”

A few days ago, Patriarch Twal responded enthusiastically to the agreement reached between Hamas and Fatah. He also denounced “the Judaization of Jerusalem” and attacked Israel for “trying to transform it into an only Hebrew-Jewish city, excluding the other faiths.” Elsewhere, Iraq’s Archbishop, Louis Sako, asked to “separate between Judaism and Zionism.” Indeed, in the most influential quarters of Christianity, Jews are still regarded as an apostate group not entitled to a sovereign state of its own.

Backed by the Catholic clergy, for the first time in history the Palestinians asked the United Nations’ cultural body to register Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity under the name of “Palestine.” According to Omar Awadallah, who heads the UN department in the PA Foreign Ministry, “Jesus is the Palestinian prince of hope and peace and Christians all over the world want that church to be a World Heritage site.”

In a period when the Vatican’s anguish at the catastrophic decline of Arab Christianity should be palpable, the Catholic Church chooses to demonize Israel and to increase its collaboration with the PLO. The confirmation comes from the intensity of high profile meetings in recent weeks and the participation of bishops not only from Arab countries, but from Europe and the United States as well.

Meanwhile, Catholic and Muslim dignitaries met in Beit Sahour for a conference on “How to live together in a future Palestinian state.” Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, and Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, attended the event organized by Al-Liqa, a Vatican ecumenical center. Sabbah signed a document condemning Zionism as “racial exclusivity” and “the ideology of empire and colonialism.”

 

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