Coverage Areas:  National |  South Carolina |  Aiken |  Beaufort |  Charleston |  Columbia |  Greenville |  Myrtle Beach |  Rock Hill
Menu

Pope concerned by U.S. move to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital

VATICAN CITY–Following reports that U.S. President Donald Trump planned to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, Pope Francis expressed his concern that such a move would further destabilize the Middle East.

Pope Francis said he could not “keep silent about my deep concern” for Jerusalem and urged respect for “the status quo of the city in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.”

The pope spoke at the end of his weekly general audience Dec. 6, the same day President Trump was expected to announce his decision to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, fulfilling a promise he made during his presidential campaign.

Former presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush had made the same promises during their campaigns, but once in office, they did not carry through with the move, citing its potential negative impact on Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Trump, on the other hand, seemed prepared to announce the move, drawing warnings from Middle Eastern and European leaders that overturning the United States’ long-standing policy would further complicate peace negotiations.

According to Vatican Radio, the pope received a telephone call from Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas Dec. 5 regarding President Trump’s plan to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem.

CNS photo/Baz Ratner, Reuters: A monk walks outside Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulcher in 2013.

The conversation was “part of a series of contacts made by the president of the Palestinian National Authority after his conversation with Donald Trump during which — according to Abbas’ spokesman — the U.S. president announced his intention to move the American embassy,” Greg Burke, Vatican spokesman, told Vatican Radio.

The Vatican supports a “two-state solution” for the Holy Land with independence, recognition and secure borders for both Israel and Palestine.

At the same time, the Vatican consistently has called for a special status for Jerusalem, particularly its Old City, in order to protect and guarantee access to the holy sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

In his appeal, Pope Francis said, “Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims who venerate the holy places of their respective religions, and has a special vocation to peace.”

Since the early 1990s, the Vatican has seen as separate issues the need for a special status for the city and questions over the political sovereignty or control of Jerusalem. The political question, it has insisted, must be the result of negotiation.

The internationally unsettled status of Jerusalem and its central importance to Jews, Muslims and Christians explains why, while recognizing the state of Israel, no nation has its embassy in the holy city.

“I pray to the Lord that this identity would be preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world and that wisdom and prudence would prevail, to avoid adding new elements of tension in a world already shaken and scarred by many cruel conflicts,” the pope said.

Before the audience, Pope Francis met with religious leaders from Palestine attending a meeting sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.

Dialogue, the pope said, takes place at every level, especially “in our families, in our religious communities, between different religious communities, and also in civil society.”

However, a key condition for dialogue is mutual respect and a commitment to strengthen that respect “for the sake of recognizing the rights of all people, wherever they happen to be,” he said.

“Dialogue is the source of greater mutual knowledge, greater mutual esteem and cooperation in the pursuit of the common good, and generous cooperation in ensuring that those in need receive all necessary assistance,” Pope Francis said.

By Junno Arocho Esteves / Catholic News Service

CNS photo/Baz Ratner, Reuters: A Palestinian man walks with a donkey along a road overlooking Jerusalem’s Old City in 2010.

 






  • Diocesan Events Calendar
    View All Events
    Jul 18 Tekakwitha Conference 2018
    From the Calendar of Native American Ministry
    Jul 27 4th National Black Catholic Women's Conference
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Jul 288:30 am Canon Law Course
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Aug 10 Last day of Summer Academy
    From the Calendar of St. Anthony of Padua School Greenville
    8:00 am 2018 Interregional African American Catholic Evangelization Conference
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Aug 17 CORE Training Weekend
    From the Calendar of Youth Ministry
    Aug 1910:00 am Volunteer Workday and Open House Potluck
    From the Calendar of St. John School North Charleston
    Aug 258:00 am Day of Prayer for Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Sep 1 Daniel Rudd Fund Application Closes
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    10:00 am Junta de Equipo Diocesano de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Sep 18 National Association of Black Catholic Administrators Annual Meeting
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Oct 13 Diocesan Evangelization Conference
    From the Calendar of Ethnic Ministries
    Oct 278:00 am Day of Continuing Education for Deacons
    From the Calendar of Diaconate
    Nov 1 Black Catholic History Month
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Nov 1010:00 am Junta de Equipo Diocesano de Emmaus
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Nov 1210:00 am Junta Diocesana
    From the Calendar of Pastoral Juvenil
    Nov 17 Diocese of Charleston Native American Catholic Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of Native American Ministry
    Nov 18 Vietnamese Martyrs Celebration
    From the Calendar of Vietnamese Ministry
    Dec 1 Black Catholics Heritage Celebration
    From the Calendar of African American Ministry
    Dec 15 Simbang Gabi for Filipino Catholics
    From the Calendar of Filipino Ministry