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Leading English prelate laments plight of Bethlehem Christians

Catholic World News - December 27, 2011

During his homily at Midnight Mass, Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster prayed for beleaguered Christians in Bethlehem.

“We are to see clearly the reality of the world around us,” he preached. “We are to see more clearly all those things which disfigure our world, the presence of the sins of greed and arrogance, of self-centered ambition and manipulation of others, of the brutal lack of respect for human life in all its vulnerability. While recognizing how complex moral dilemmas can become, we are to name these things for what they are. We too live ‘in a land of deep shadow.’”

“That shadow falls particularly heavily on the town of Bethlehem tonight,” he continued. “At this moment the people of the parish of Beit Jala prepare for their legal battle to protect their land and homes from further expropriation by Israel. Over 50 families face losing their land and their homes as action is taken to complete the separation/security wall across the territory of the district of Bethlehem. We pray for them tonight.”

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  • Posted by: Don Vicente - Dec. 27, 2011 9:52 PM ET USA

    Oh, yes. Christians can WORSHIP freely. However, since they are Arabs, they are still second-class citizens in the eyes of the Israelis, and equally subject to expropriation of their property. If you have ever been to Israel, did you ever check into who gets the yellow license plates and who gets the light blue ones? (Hint: the yellow ones get you through check-points in a flash.) In the 1940's, African-Americans could also worship freely in the USA. That was a start...

  • Posted by: roth115703578 - Dec. 27, 2011 1:46 PM ET USA

    If Archbishop Nichols had the facts that include: Before the Palestinian takeover of the city Christians comprised nearly 80% of the population of Bethlehem and now they compromise less than a quarter of the population, he would ask for prayers for all Christians under the rule of Muslims because they are being harassed, murdered (in Church),and chased out of their ancestral homes. In Israel Arab Christians are free to worship as they will with the protection of the State of Israel.

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