Benedict XVI comes to the Holy Land to deepen its Christian presence, bishop says

.- Auxiliary Bishop Giacinto Boulos Marcuzzo of Jerusalem said during a recent interview that Pope Benedict XVI, who begins his historic visit to the Holy Land this Friday, is going to the region “to confirm his brethren in the faith, to deepen the roots of the Christian presence there, and to strengthen our relations with others.”

In an interview with the magazine L’Azione, the bishop explained, “Now we still have many problems, but there is less violence right now than before. The proof is in the great number of pilgrims who are visiting our land. There is climate of non-violence,” he said.

For this reason, he explained, “the Pope’s visit could contribute to improving the atmosphere and the trust between Israelis and Palestinians.”  He said the Pontiff’s trip, while important from a diplomatic point of view, will be more important pastorally and spiritually for Holy Land.

Commenting later about relations between the Church and Judaism, Bishop Marcuzzo said there have been recent “tensions,” but that the Pope’s trip would “help to calm the waters in our relations.  The Pope’s visit will show how close Christians and Jews are.”


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