His Eminence Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, Special Envoy of His Holiness Pope John Paul II, arrives today in Jerusalem, for a visit aiming to participate directly in solving the crisis in Bethlehem caused by the Israeli Army siege around the Basilica of the Nativity, since 30 days ago.
Cardinal Etchegaray’s visit comes in continuation to the active role of the Holy See in specific and the world churches in general, especially the Churches of the Holy Land, which act continuously in an attempt to put an end to this crisis, as well as to the other issues in conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians.
Since the emerging of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, tens of years ago, and with every regretful renewal of the conflict, the Churches expressed firm position highlighting that there is no peace without justice, and no justice while there is oppressors and oppressed.
It is good to add in this opportunity that the churches in general, and the Holy See particularly invest great efforts, on various levels, known and unknown. We emphasize also that the Church cares for the Palestinian Cause in general, and for the current conflict in specific, especially what happens in and around the Basilica of the Nativity. Many ideas and proposals were offered, and more efforts will continue to be done, hoping that Almighty God help us in solving this crisis and improving the entire Arab-Jewish relations in the near future.
We pray that the Almighty inspire all leaders, especially those who could decide, to know that the military solutions are useless, but bring more disasters, destruction and hatred (which will be difficult to eliminate it in the foreseen future). We call upon our faithful and the entire residents of the Holy Land to continue praying for justice and peace in our homeland.
His Eminence Etcghegaray will preside a Pontiff Mass at the Con Cathedral of the Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem (near Jafa Gate), at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, May 5, 2002.
Jerusalem, May 1st 2002
Fr. Raed Abusahlia
Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
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