Says They Contribute to Interfaith Understanding
Catholic schools in the Holy Land are contributing to what will hopefully become peace between Muslims, Jews and Christians, a cardinal affirmed after returning from a trip to Jerusalem.
Cardinal John Foley, grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, said this to ZENIT in an appeal for help for the Christian minority in the Holy Land.
"We should be aware of the situation that Christians in the Holy Land — who are the successors of the original followers of Christ — live lives of oppression, we might say. They’re a twofold minority. They’re a minority in Israel within the Jewish population. They’re a minority in Israel even within the Palestinian population that lives there, which is overwhelmingly Muslim," the cardinal said.
Besides facing all the problems associated with being a minority, the Christians who live in the Holy Land also share the burdens of their Muslim and Jewish neighbors.
He noted some of these hardships, citing "the difficulty, of course, with the erection of the wall around Bethlehem, the difficulty of movement between the West Bank and Israel and Jerusalem, the difficulties of earning a living and having access to education: All of these press very hard upon the Christian community."
According to Cardinal Foley, the Christian population needs support.
"Help them, their schools, their parishes, Bethlehem University, which is a Catholic university in the midst of an overwhelmingly Muslim society," he encouraged. "And, by the way, the Catholic schools accept also Muslims so that they contribute to interfaith understanding and contribute to what we hope will be an eventual peace among Muslims, Jews, and Christians."