Why the Vatican is involved in the issues of the Middle East?
Since the definition of the Vatican diplomacy traces in the Encyclicals: Mater Magistra (Christianity and social progress), 1961, of Pope John XXIII, Pacem In Terris, (Peace on Earth), 1963, of Pope John XXIII, and Populorum Progressio (On the development of Peoples), 1967, and , and especially after the Second Vatican Council,1963-1965, The Holy See took a new turn on the issues of human rights, justice and peace, respect of religious freedom, interfaith dialogue and mutual respect, science etc.
The Vatican became a symbolic value through its social and moral teachings with a world wide weight. In its uniqueness, the Vatican, as a translational actor, found itself obliged in front of the conscience of the world to say its word and take clear stands on the issues related to human rights. This role was not a new thing, the Vatican had always, through the messages, discourses, encyclicals and apostolic letters of the popes took clear stands over issues. We can mention Rerum Novarum, 1891 (The Condition of Labor) by Leo XIII, Quadragesimo Anno, 1931, (After forty Years) by Pius XI and others. It is a only new area after the Second Vatican Council and the mentioned encyclicals.
The Vatican role differs from the political powers who are involved in their relation with nations, states and organizations on military, economic, cultural, industrial goals. The Vatican has no military, economic or industrial goals in its relations, and this frees the Holy See and gives him the chance to say an independent message to the world on the international and national levels. And this makes from the Holy See stands a world wide weight that touches the deep needs of the people when the interests of the temporal rulers could change after election. This is why the stands, messages, discourses and the statements of the Popes, or the Osservatore Romano, the Vatican News Paper, became a real value .
In fact with its limits, today, the Vatican appears the most listened to, read and accepted by the majority of the states and on the international and national levels, visited by Kings, Presidents and prime ministers.
On the Issue of the Middle East, that interests us on our web site, the Vatican was, despite of its limits, the defender of justice in the region and promoter of dialogue, nonviolence, advocate of a comprehensive peace with justice between the blood brothers, sons and daughters of Abraham, the Semites: Israelis and the Arabs, Jews, Arab Christians and Arab Muslims. The Vatican role had made the preferential choice, respected by all parties in the Middle East and on the international level.
The Vatican involvement, if we can call it "involvement", is to preserve justice as the unique foundation of comprehensive peace, and remind the temporal rulers that without justice, there will be no real peace. The one who remains outside and feels that justice were not done to him will nourish in his soul and heart the desire to come back again by any means that could be wars and violence if he is not heard. The Vatican involvement is then an assurance to all parties and to the international level - when the temporal rulers may change and may look for their interests - that the Church will look above any parties' interests and seek justice for all. That involvement will then remain on history as a reminder, if justice is not made, a value, but one day a reality.
By Rev. Labib Kobti