HOLY LAND: Last Friday, Pope Francis called on participants at the Family Synod to raise “ardent and trustful” prayers for peace in the Middle East. The situation remains highly tense in Israel and in Palestine where acts of violence are running on an almost daily rhythm. We suggest for you an outlook by Mr. Giuseppe Lazzarotto, Apostolic Nuncio in Israel and Delegate for Jerusalem and Palestinian Territories.
What is running in the Holy Land is very worrying and distressful. We cannot stay indifferent to repeated acts of violence and loss of human lives. Recent statements by Pope Francis, on the situation in the Holy Land and his call to resume the path of dialogue, do not just express his concern, but resound the feelings of all those who, here and there, are involved with sincerity and generosity to reconstruct peace. Their voice is not heard properly enough, and their efforts are often ignored. It is necessary to think seriously of our objectives, and of efficient means, if we really seek peaceful coexistence which secures a minimum of “normalcy”.
Friday morning, at the Synod great hall, Pope Francis once again called the international community to act in order to resolve running conflicts. What could it do actually?
The international community is equipped with tools which if properly used could surely contribute to resolve conflicts and situations of crisis, like the one which we live presently in the Holy Land. But I believe it is necessary before anything else to find ways to establish on the ground a climate of mutual trust. If it is impossible to bring down the walls of mistrust and hostility, all initiatives will be ineffective and unfortunately designated to fail, as we have seen more recently. I think it is precisely that which the Pope wanted to say when saying that in order to reach peace we need audacious steps which go beyond immediate interests of individuals and groups.
Pilgrimage in the Holy Land is in decline since some time. The present situation is not such that will improve things. What would you like to tell the pilgrims who fear coming to the Holy Land?
The presence of pilgrims is important, not only because it expresses solidarity and proximity, but also because it can contribute to bring back trust and hope at present and in future. It is normal that for the moment pilgrims experience fear. However, it is noteworthy that so far no incident was reported, that could endanger the life of those who come to the Holy Land in order to explore the roots of their faith. It is important to underline that each pilgrimage should be well planned, certainly from a spiritual point of view, but also from a logistical point of view. It is advisable to coordinate contacts with agencies that are well prepared and experienced.
Notes gathered by Manuella Affejee