JERUSALEM – Concerning the rumors and the news circulating in the media about the sale of some properties in Nazareth, it is necessary to present the following clarifications:
1. It is not a secret that in the past years the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem (LPJ) arrived at a huge deficit of about 100 Million US Dollars, because of past operational mismanagement, connected to the American University of Madaba. The debts are towards different banks and not the Vatican.
2. Archbishop Pierbattista Pizzaballa was appointed Apostolic Administrator in order to organize a solution to these problems.
3. In the last four years, an important work of reorganization of the administration has taken place, with proper internal controls and limitations.
4. With the accumulation of a huge debt, despite the many efforts made to fundraise, it became clear that the only possible solution is to sell some properties.
5. Several properties in Jordan are also being considered to settle the remaining debts and decisions have been taken in this regard, even if the economic conditions in the Country are not suitable, since the prices are at minimum. In Jordan, anyway, there are not enough properties to settle all the debts.
6. For that reason, and after many other attempts, the decision was reached to sell land in Nazareth and duly approved by all competent bodies, including the LPJ internal commissions, and from the Holy See. This sale excludes over 100 dunams of prime land designated for the future benefit of the Christian community of Nazareth.
7. The sale is according to commercial prices and according to a formal appraisal and it is being sold to an Arab businessman.
8. This uncomfortable decision has been taken with difficulty, as it was the last resource possible.
9. In due time, the LPJ will publish a comprehensive and specific communication about this transaction.
10. All the news that is circulating and affirming other things and are different from these, are baseless and false.
Source: Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem