Holy Land awaits fruits of papal visit

There have been no peace outcomes from Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the Holy Land in May, according to the Patriarch of Jerusalem.

“The Pope came as a man of dialogue; he called for peace. But until now we haven’t [seen] any fruit from this visit", Archbishop Fouad Twal told The Tablet on a visit to London last week.


I was at a Mass he celebrated at Westminster Cathedral on Tuesday night, and was struck by the tone of lament in what he said and how he said it.

That's nothing new: what Patriarch Twal told the congregation was almost exactly what his predecessor, Michel Sabbah, used to say: that there was absence of rule of law, that Christians were emigrating because of the economic catastrophe caused by Israeli security measures, and that occupation and settlements were producing hostility, suspicion and despair.

But that's what's surprising -- that it's the same old lament. After all, in the Obama presidency, surely, we finally have a US government willing to talk tough on the annexation of Palestinian lands and the expansion on them of Israeli settlements. 

Yet if the tough talking -- so far ignored on the ground by Israelis -- has impressed Patriarch Twal, he's not saying so. 

In his homily he criticized "politicians who are more afraid of peace than of war, and who prefer to manage conflict than to end it."

Austen Ivereigh


Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
8 years 7 months ago
Thanks for the update and news. Fruit takes time to develop after the bud flowers. Bees pollinate and rain brings nourishment. Of course all depends on the energy from the sun too and countless other factors, some still unknown. With G_d and all the world's people watching and hoping surely the awaited will happen. They will beat their swords into plowshares and the lion will lie down with the lamb. Peace and goodness will flourish. The land of milk and honey will yield its full harvest. Good will and right actions will overcome the evil one; that Satan that sows discord and destruction among the peoples. Be stouthearted and trust in the Lord! 
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom do I fear? The LORD is my life’s refuge; of whom am I afraid? 
When evildoers come at me to devour my flesh, These my enemies and foes themselves stumble and fall.
Though an army encamp against me, my heart does not fear; Though war be waged against me, even then do I trust.
One thing I ask of the LORD; this I seek: To dwell in the LORD’S house all the days of my life, To gaze on the LORD’S beauty, to visit his temple.
8 years 7 months ago
Perhaps the reason nothing has changed is because Archbishops Twal's and Sabbah's premise is wrong.  Chrisitians are not emigrating from the Holy Land because of Israel's security measures or the ''occupation.''
Christians are emigrating because of relentless persecution by Muslim Arabs.  It is about time that Christian leaders stopped spouting Muslim Palestinian propaganda and start protecting their own from Muslim aggression.  Look at where the Christian communities have gone from a local majority to almost none - like Bethlehem, which is under Palestinian - not Israeli - control. 
Another point some Christians leaders fail to remember is that when the Holy Land was under Muslim control, Christian access to holy places was severly limited and in fact many sites were desecretated.  It is only because of Israeli laws that guarantee freedom of religion to all that Christians can now freely worship in the Holy Land and have access to Christian places of pilgrimage.  So much for gratitude ...
8 years 7 months ago
Mitzimi: I'm afraid this is just not true. I have been to Bethlehem many times and can tell you that relations between Christians and Muslims in the town are very peaceful, Read my article here http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=10991 and you'll see why the town's Christians are leaving -  because they are losing their lands and their jobs as a result of land annexations and the security wall, which is strangling the town and keeping the pilgrims away.


Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

A blockbuster exhibition profiles one of the 20th century's great bridge figures.
Rob Weinert-KendtApril 26, 2018
History records many great men and women who would have been set aside without the aid of someone able to see past their faults.
Terrance KleinApril 26, 2018
Patrick J. Conroy, S.J., seen here in June 2017, had been the chaplain of the U.S. House of Representatives since 2011.  (CNS photo/Rhina Guidos)
Patrick Conroy, S.J., submitted his resignation earlier this month. The Hill reports that a prayer seen as critical of the Republican tax bill may have been a factor.
Speaking in Chicago to a gathering of U.S. priests, Archbishop Wilton Gregory addressed racism, sexism and a host of other societal challenges that "continue to hold us captive."