Home > Synod > 2010-10-13 17:42:25
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Intervention of Card. John Patrick FOLEY, Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem (VATICAN CITY)


As messengers of Christ's peace, I am convinced that all of us must pray and work for peace in the Middle East especially for a just and lasting peace between Palestine and Israel and among their neighbors.
I am convinced that the continued tension between the Israelis and the Palestinians has contributed greatly to the turmoil in all of the Middle East and also to the growth of Islamic fundamentalism.
While many, including the Holy See, have suggested a two state solution to the Israeli Palestinian crisis, the more time passes, the more difficult such a solution becomes, as the building of Israeli settlements and Israeli controlled infrastructure in East Jerusalem and in other parts of the West Bank make increasingly difficult the development of a viable and integral Palestinian state.
During the Holy Father' s historic pilgrimage to the Holy Land last year, I had the opportunity for brief conversations with political leaders at the highest level in Jordan, Israel and Palestine. All of them spoke of the great contribution to mutual understanding made by Catholic schools in those three areas. Since Catholic schools are open to all and not just to Catholics and to other Christians, many Moslem and even some Jewish children are enrolled. The effects are apparent and inspiring. Mutual respect is engendered, which we hope will lead to reconciliation and even mutual love.
As the one honored by our Holy Father with the task of serving as Grand Master of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, I am inspired by the interest and generosity of the almost 27,000 Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulchre in 56 jurisdictions all over the world.

Many have made pilgrimages to the Holy Land where they have visited not only the places made sacred by the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ but also the parishes, schools and hospitals which serve those we call the "living stones" the Christian descendants of the original followers of Jesus Christ in that land we call ''holy''.
Since the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000, the Order of the Holy Sepulchre has sent more than $50 million to assist especia1ly the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem but also other Christian communities and institutions to survive and indeed excel in service to the entire community in the Holy Land.
Such generosity, while important, is secondary to the development of an ever deeper spiritual life on the part of our members and of those whom we serve.
Years ago, I noted that the so called five pillars of Islam really had their origins in Judaeo Christian sources.
Jews, Christians and Moslems all believe in one God; we all practice frequent and, I hope, fervent prayer; we all, in different ways, practice fasting; we believe in and practice almsgiving; and we all seek to take part in pilgrimage also to Jerusalem, a city sacred to Jews, Christians and Moslems.
May these common beliefs and practices be acknowledged and followed in the hope of greater mutual understanding and of reconciliation, peace and indeed love in that land which all of us, Jew, Christian and Moslem, are moved to call "holy".

[00055-02.03] [IN033] [Original text: English]



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