Palestine – This historical bilateral agreement concerns the presence and activity of the Catholic Church in Palestine. It went into effect on Saturday January 2nd, 2016.
This agreement, which consists of an introduction and 32 articles, talks about the liberty of action of the Church in Palestine, its jurisdiction, worshipping places, social and charitable activities, means of social communication, financial matters and land ownership. It confirms “the support of the Church to a negotiated, peaceful settlement of the conflict in the region”, according to a Holy See press release.
The text, which is founded on the fundamental agreement of February 15th, 2000, had been signed in the Vatican on June 26th, 2015, in presence namely of Mgr. Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Inter-State relations; Riad Malki, Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.B. Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Apostolic Nuncio in Israel and Apostolic Delegate in Jerusalem and in the Territories, Mgr. Giuseppe Lazzarotto.
“Catholics do not seek any privilege except to keep on collaborating with their co-citizens for the welfare of the society”, states Mgr. Gallagher, Head of the Vatican diplomacy, pointing out that “the local Church, involved in the negotiations, is satisfied with the resultants, and is glad to see good relationships growing with the civilian authorities”.
At the signature of the agreement, the Latin Patriarch had greeted “a glimmer of hope and a relief for the Palestinian people, an additional push on the road to justice and peace. Despite enormous difficulties in the area, we do not stand alone on the international scene. The Holy See and also the whole world is standing little by little to our side”.
Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem