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Jerusalem officials threaten to cut water supply for Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Catholic World News - July 30, 2010

City officials in Jerusalem are threatening to cut off the supply of water for the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the AsiaNews service reports.

The city has provided free water service to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre for nearly a century, as a service to pilgrims and a courtesy to the clerics who administered the shrine. But that tradition—honored by British and Jordanian rulers, and continued by Israeli officials—may not be in jeopardy. Church officials say that the city is now asking for payment not only for current water usage, but for usage dating back to the Israeli takeover of Jerusalem in 1967.

The status of Christian shrines in Israel—including their tax treatment and the provision of public services—is not clearly delineated because Israel and the Holy See have not yet reached agreement on a long-awaited juridical agreement. The Church of the Holy Sepulchre poses a particularly knotty case because its administration is governed by a complicated agreement among the various Christian denominations that work there: Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Armenian, Coptic, Syrian, and Ethiopian.

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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: ColmCille - Aug. 02, 2010 12:27 AM ET USA

    extremeCatholic: I think that to provide free water all this time, as a courtesy, and then to suddenly demand payment ex post facto all the way back to 1967 is extremely unreasonable. What if I were giving you free candy bars for the last couple years, and then suddenly I asked not only payment for all future candy bars (reasonable), but for all the candy bars I had already given you (not reasonable)? This basically amounts to giving someone a gift then taking it back.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Aug. 01, 2010 8:25 AM ET USA

    I don't think a fair price for water used is unreasonable, the excuse that the occupants can't agree on a split so the bill cannot be paid is absurd. How do they split the electric bill?

  • Posted by: a son of Mary - Jul. 31, 2010 2:00 AM ET USA

    considering that the israeli orthodox regularly spit (really!) on priests and religious in jerusalem, this is not a surprise. if you visit there, with the advent of that wall, it's become a terrible place for many who try to live their faith.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jul. 30, 2010 6:38 PM ET USA

    This is a shocking development, but not unexpected. In the Holy Land I found the Israelis to be not terribly hospitable. One point of correction--all the above named are actually Christian CHURCHES, with valid sacraments, even those not in union with Rome. It is not correct to call them "denominations."

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