Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Laments Christians' Uncertain Future in Israel

The answer, the patriarch said, is `neither emigration nor withdrawing into ourselves' but `to stay, live and die in the Holy Land.'

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Haaretz
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Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal, center, arrives at the Church of the Nativity. Bethlehem, December 24 2013.Credit: AP
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Haaretz

The Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, on a recent visit to Italy, said he saw "no short-term solution" to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in Israel, raising "many questions about [Christians'] future in the country."

Fouad Twal recently visited, and delivered a homily at, the Shrine of Our Lady of Tears in Syracuse, Italy, which is in southeastern Sicily.

This uncertain future "weighs heavily on all people" and "remains a source of deep concern," the patriarch said.

"We need the answer of faith. The answer is neither emigration nor withdrawing in on ourselves. The answer is to stay, live anIid die in the Holy Land. Our land is holy and as such, we owe it loyalty, because our presence here is a divine vocation, a blessing, and a privilege.

The patriarch lamented the threats written on church and monastery walls in the region, the "tangled knot" of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and "the terrorism of Al Qaeda and Isis in Iraq and Syria," which "frightens the whole world.

And he said the "mother church of Jerusalem" is helping with the "refugees who have fled their homes in Syria and Iraq, to get away from the horrors that rage in those countries.

"This is the true face of our Church: humble, weak, poor, and that really feels service to every man, and opens in charity to all who need it." 

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