DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     October 28, 1998     vol. 9, no. 211

NEWS & VIEWS
from a CATHOLIC perspective

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HOLY SEE CONCERNS ON STATUS OF JERUSALEM

          VATICAN (CWNews.com) -- In the aftermath of the Wye Plantation peace agreement between Israel and Palestine, the Holy See has made new expressions of concern over the status of Jerusalem.

          "The cause of the Holy City has always been at the center of the Holy See's concerns, and one of the major priorities of its international action," said Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican's chief foreign-affairs official.

          Speaking in Jerusalem on Monday, to a group of Catholic leaders convened there at the invitation of Patriarch Michel Sabbah, Archbishop Tauran repeated the Vatican contention that Jerusalem should be an international city, with guaranteed open access for believers of all the great world religions.

          The situation in Jerusalem is thoroughly unique, the archbishop pointed out, for three reasons: it is a city regarded as holy by the three great monotheistic religions; it is claimed as a capital by both Israelis and Palestinians; and it is inhabited by a very diverse population. "It is a conflict," Archbishop Tauran admitted. "In fact there are many different points of conflict."

          For that reason, the archbishop continued, the Holy See seeks an integral approach to the city's status: an agreement which would guard not only the access of pilgrims to religious sites there, but the entire heritage of the Holy City. He pointed out that the Vatican has consistently protested the military occupation of the city since 1967, pointing out: "It is false, therefore, to pretend that the Holy See is only interested in the religious aspect and ignores the political and territorial questions." While the Vatican has no interest in strictly political or territorial affairs, he added, the Church "has the right and the duty to remind the parties of their obligations to resolve controversies peacefully, according to the principles of justice and equity."

          Calling Jerusalem a "treasure of humanity as a whole," the Vatican diplomat said that the city should be governed by an international accord, and the Holy See will resist any "unilateral solution." He recommended a special international statute to govern the city's future.


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October 28, 1998       volume 9, no. 211
NEWS & VIEWS

DAILY CATHOLIC

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