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Visiting bishops prod Israel on diplomatic accord with Holy See

Catholic World News - January 13, 2011

Concluding a visit to the Holy Land, a group of Catholic bishops from Europe and North America said they were “painfully aware of the frustration” among Catholics in Israel over the government’s restrictions on church work.

Speaking from Jerusalem, the visiting bishops called for a speedy conclusion of the long-running talks to establish the legal status of Church institutions in Israel. They said that a final agreement on the pact—which was promised in 1993, as part of the “fundamental agreement” that prompted Vatican recognition of Israel and establishment of full diplomatic relations—could end nagging questions about visas for clerics and religious, taxes on church properties, and access to Christian shrines.

The bishops also criticized Palestinian officials for failure to protect the rights of Christians, citing “too many cases where people’s dignity is ignore or insulted.”

The European and American bishops were involved in the 11th meeting of the Holy Land Coordination, which brings Western prelates to Jerusalem each year. In their statement about the visit, the bishops strongly encouraged Christians to make pilgrimages to the Holy Land. “We from around the world to visit the Holy Land in pilgrimage. “We believe that every visit to the Holy Land brings benefits both to pilgrims and the people who live here, especially the Christian community,” they said.

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Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: filioque - Jan. 13, 2011 10:07 PM ET USA

    I am not clear why restricting Jewish activities is reprehensible anti-Semitism but restricting Christian activities is not reprehensible anti-Christianism.

  • Posted by: TheJournalist64 - Jan. 13, 2011 5:41 PM ET USA

    My wife and I made a "Rosary pilgrimage" in 2005. It changed our lives and gave us a better picture of the political situation there as well. I hope many listen to the bishops and make that pilgrimage of a lifetime, in part to help support the Christians in the Holy Land. Oh--make certain that you have a Christian guide, Catholic or Orthodox.

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