.- In an article to be published this Friday in the religious section of L’Espresso online, Vatican watcher Sandro Magister analyzes the efforts of the Holy See to revitalize the life of Christians in the Holy Land as well as the impact September 11 had on relations between Israel and the Vatican.
Magister explains that despite tensions between the Vatican and Israel brought on by such matters as the issuing of visas for Catholic religious and priests, the Vatican is encouraging visits to the Holy Land in order to help alleviate the economic difficulties the Christian communities are facing. This initiative, which has a positive impact on the whole country, is viewed very positively by Israel. Nevertheless, based on the analysis of Italian political scientist Silvio Ferrari, Magister explains the three main focal points of Vatican policy regarding the Holy Land--the maintaining of the presence of the Christian communities, the safeguarding of holy places, and the peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict—and the discrepancy between the Holy See on the one hand, and the US and Israel on the other.
The analysis by Ferrari, which Magister includes in his article, states that “the differences are not marginal ones, but rather they are two different interpretations of the sociopolitical processes underway in the Arab countries: one emphasizes the threats to the identity and economic interests of the West, while the other focuses principally (with a long-term vision) on the issues of integration and the necessity of an integral economic balance between north and south, and on the possibility of making the Mediterranean region a place of convergence for different civilizations.”
Magister’s article will be available Friday at: www.chiesa.espressonline.it/english