Monday, January 07, 2013

The Patriarch of Jerusalem: "The situation for Christians has gotten worse"

"In the past I said that we in Jerusalem are the Church of the Calvary, but now all the Middle East is the Church of the Calvary". 

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal denounces the increasingly difficult situation of Christians in the Middle East and, in an interview by 'Vatican Radio', he launches an appeal for international solidarity.       
"The situation has worsened. Additionally, among the negative aspects of the year 2012, we have also seen many acts of vandalism against churches and convents; acts executed by Muslims and Israelis", he stresses. "We have always denounced such acts to the Israeli authorities, underlining the importance of promoting better education".
"I wonder", adds Fouad Twal, "why these people have been taught to hate each other. It is a problem of children's education in the schools. It is true that the Israeli authorities have also condemned these acts, however, I have not seen any results beyond words and the culprits have not been stopped".    
The situation in Syria is also a concern.  

 "We cannot forget Syria; we cannot forget the Christians who live there. We cannot remain silent". 

As for the refugees, especially in Jordan, Patriarch Twal reminds us that "so far Jordan has been the only country where there is stability and where Christians and non Christians can take refuge. This is the case of many Iraqis, many Syrians, and the case of many Egyptians who are in search of work, they are all here in Jordan". 

Finally, a wish for the year of faith: "We need more faith in order to withstand difficulties and to continue to bear witness with more enthusiasm".
From the 5th to the 10th of January, bishops from all over Europe and North America are in the Holy Land from where they will then visit the refugees from the Syrian conflict in Jordan on Saturday and Sunday. 
It is the thirteenth meeting sponsored by the Co-ordination of Episcopal Conferences in support of the Church in the Holy Land and by the Assembly of Catholic bishops of the Holy Land. 

The delegation organized by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales will meet in Bethlehem, reports the news agency SIR, then it will go to Jordan and will conclude its journey in Jerusalem. 

The delegates will be updated on the current situation in the Holy Land by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal and by the apostolic nuncio Mgr. Giuseppe Lazzarotto.  

The bishops are hoping that their presence will remind Christian communities in the Holy Land that "they have not been forgotten by their brothers and sisters in other parts of the world".

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