DAILY CATHOLIC    MONDAY     November 8, 1999     vol. 10, no. 211

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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POPE MAY SKIP NAZARETH IN HOLY LAND TRIP

        JERUSALEM (CWNews.com) - Pope John Paul II may skip visiting Nazareth during a visit to the Holy Land next year because of a dispute over a planned mosque, according to an official of the Latin-rite Jerusalem Patriarchate on Friday.

        Wadia Abu Nassar said the Vatican may cancel plans to visit the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth on March 25, the Feast of the Annunciation. Christians and Muslims in Nazareth have battled over a plot of land next to the church which both sides claim as their own. Christians want to use the land to build a plaza to accommodate expected hordes of pilgrims next year, but Muslims claimed the land belonged to them and wanted to build a massive mosque on the location.

        Israel's government sided with the Muslims in October and gave permission for a scaled-back version of the mosque. Christian leaders were angered by the decision and criticized Israel's handling of the dispute.

        Abu Nassar told Israel radio that the Nazareth situation is causing delays in planning for the historic papal visit next year. "The continuation of the tension in Nazareth makes the visit difficult," he said. Christian leaders announced earlier this week that churches throughout the Holy Land will close for two days later this month in protest at the decision.


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November 8, 1999       volume 10, no. 211
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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