Francis expresses his "deep concern for the situation that has been created in the last few days". The Church is always in favor of dialogue he says receiving participants in the meeting of the Standing Committee for Dialogue with religious figures of Palestine.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Francis has expressed his "deep concern for the situation that has been created in the last few days " in Jerusalem. He was speaking at the end of the general audience following which he also launched "a heartfelt appeal for everyone's commitment to respect the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant United Nations Resolutions ".
"Jerusalem - he said - is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, who venerate the Holy Places of their respective religions, and it has a special vocation to peace. I pray to the Lord - he concluded - that this identity is preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world and that wisdom and prudence prevail, to avoid adding new elements of tension in a world already convulsed and marked by many and cruel conflicts ".
His words in favor of dialogue and peaceful coexistence were also at the center of a meeting held before the general audience, with participants in the meeting of the Standing Committee for Dialogue with religious figures of Palestine, promoted by the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
Francis said "If for the Catholic Church it is always a joy to build bridges of dialogue with communities, people and organizations, it is certainly a special joy to do so with Palestinian religious and intellectual personalities. For us Christians, the Holy Land is the land par excellence of dialogue between God and humanity. A dialogue that culminated in Nazareth between the Angel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary, an event to which the Koran also refers ".
"Dialogue - he said - is established at all levels: among ourselves, through reflection and prayer, in the family, within the religious community, between different religious communities, and also with civil society. Its primary condition is mutual respect and, at the same time, the aim to consolidate this respect in order to recognize the rights of all people, wherever they may be. Dialogue leads to a greater mutual knowledge, a greater mutual esteem and a collaboration for the achievement of the common good and for a synergistic action towards the needy, granting them all the necessary assistance. I hope that your consultations will lead to a space of sincere dialogue in favor of all the components of Palestinian society, especially the Christian one, given its small number and the challenges to which it is called to respond, especially with regards emigration. I am aware of the attention that the Authorities of the State of Palestine, in particular President Mahmoud Abbas, have towards the Christian community, recognizing its place and its role in Palestinian society ".
In the Holy Land "the uncertainty of the situation and the lack of understanding between the parties continue to create insecurity, the restriction of fundamental rights, and the flight of many people from their land." Not to look for "full reconciliation" among Christians "today would be an even graver fault."
The 20-minute meeting was held in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. For Abbas, the pontiff "loves the Palestinian people and loves peace." He hopes that other countries will follow the Holy See and recognise Palestine as "an independent state." Concerns remain over the Holy Places. The Middle East Peace Conference starts tomorrow in Paris. Abbas criticises Trump for his statements on Jerusalem.
In his address to diplomats, Francis asks for the solution to conflicts - starting with Syria - and tensions - from Korea to Ukraine, Yemen, South Sudan and Venezuela - and augurs that migrants and the "discarded" be welcomed, like unborn children and the elderly and respect for freedom of religion and opinion, the right to work.