DAILY CATHOLIC    FRI-SAT-SUN     October 15-17, 1999     vol. 10, no. 197

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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NAZARETH MOSQUE COULD CANCEL PAPAL TRIP TO HOLY LAND

Vatican Expresses Concern Over Israeli Government's Decision

        VATICAN CITY, OCT 14 (ZENIT).- The Vatican is "concerned" about the Israeli government's decision "to authorize the construction of a mosque a few meters away" from the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, and "hopes" that the Israeli government will "insure respect for the Christian shrine." The Vatican pointed out that "such a situation does not help in the preparation of an eventual pilgrimage by the Pope" to the Holy Land.

        This statement was made public this morning by Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls, who expressed the Vatican's dissatisfaction with the compromise solution put forward by the Israeli authorities, authorizing the construction of an Islamic temple in Nazareth after the Jubilee.

        "The decision to authorize the construction of a mosque a few meters away from the historic Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth is of concern both to the Secretariat of State, as well as the Catholic Church in the Holy Land, as was authoritatively stressed by the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, and by all representatives of Christian Churches. Pope John Paul II is in solidarity with all, and especially close to the Christians of Nazareth," Navarro-Valls wrote.

        "It is not amiss to recall, that such a situation is not helpful to the preparation of an eventual pilgrimage by the Holy Father to that famous shrine, where he should be able to find a city that is a symbol of traditional, secular, peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims, and a stimulus for peace, of which the entire Holy Land is in such great need," the Vatican spokesman said.

        Navarro-Valls ended his statement: "it is hoped that the Israeli governmental authorities will consider the value the city of Nazareth has for the whole of Christianity, that they will insure respect for the Christian shrine, and free and peaceful access to it by pilgrims." ZE99101402


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October 15-17, 1999       volume 10, no. 197
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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