JERUSALEM – A few weeks before the visit of Pope Francis to the Holy Land, Patriarch Fouad Twal, appointed in 2008 as the second Arab Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, describes the situation of a life marked by divisions between Christians, and a region conflicted for over sixty years, but it is also a place of witness, dialogue, desire for peace and hope especially for the younger generations.
In a book-length interview entitled “Jerusalem, Capital of Humanity”, published in Italian by La Scuola Publishing House (268pp. € 15.50) and written by Nicola Scopelliti, His Beatitude, with great sincerity, presents a wide panorama of history and news.
The book examines topics as diverse as the Church of Calvary, the Pope’s trip to Jordan, Israel and Palestine between pastoral and diplomacy, the problems of Christians and religious freedom, faith and politics, evangelisation and culture, education and politics, the implications of Vatican II in the Middle East, the occupied territories and neighboring Jordan (birthplace of the Patriarch), the exploitation of religion by Jews and Muslim.
But this is not all. Pressed by the interviewer’s questions, he also recounts his personal history, his years at the helm of the Church in Tunis (not forgetting Bettino Craxi), his experience in the diplomatic service in Honduras, Egypt, Germany, Peru, and a brief period in the Secretariat of State of the Vatican. There is also coverage of his relations with the various Popes: Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI and Francis.
The book is important for understanding the Church today in the place where Jesus entered into history and where the heirs of the first Christian communities have tried since the early days to live the Gospel faithfully.