Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

UNESCO declares Bethlehem basilica a World Heritage site

Catholic World News - July 02, 2012

The UN’s Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has designated the Nativity basilica in Bethlehem as a World Heritage site.

The UNESCO decision, reached on a secret ballot, came in response to a request from the Palestinian Authority. Israel and the US had opposed the move, arguing that it was a political exploitation of the Christian shrine. Palestinian representative Hanan Ashwari said that “the Palestinian people welcome this decision with joy as a moment of national pride and a confirmation of their identity and of their heritage.”

Church officials in Israel welcomed the UNESCO decision, because it could provide protection for the Nativity basilica, which has been in deteriorating condition because the Christian custodians cannot agree on needed maintenance work. The administration of many shrines in the Holy Land is divided between Catholic and Orthodox custodians, under the terms of an agreement that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. Frequent clashes over territory within the shrines has often prevented cooperation on repairs. Because of the UNESCO decision, Palestinian officials will be able to raise funds for overdue maintenance work at the Nativity basilica.

Some Catholics are leery of Israeli plans to put Christian shrines in Galilee under the protection of the government. The Church has insisted that the shrines should be free from all political influences.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our September expenses ($33,416 to go):
$35,000.00 $1,584.25
95% 5%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Liberal visions of Catholicism: Kickstarter and the world's largest NGO 11 hours ago
The Blessed Book of Beasts August 30
Weekend reading August 29
Frustrating the Moral Law August 29
Weep for slaughtered Christians, not for dialogue with Islam August 29

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
‘A real via crucis’: Pope Francis, patriarch plead on behalf of Iraq’s Christians CWN - August 8
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians in flight as Islamic State advances CWN - August 8