Israeli-Vatican talks continue as papal trip nears

.- Days before Pope Benedict’s trip to the Holy Land, the Vatican’s Bilateral Permanent Working Commission and the State of Israel held a plenary meeting at the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs to discuss Church taxation as well as the restoration of Christian sites in the Holy Land.

According to a statement from the Holy See Press Office, the April 30 meeting discussed negotiations “to Article 10 paragraph 2 of the Fundamental Agreement between the Holy See and the State of Israel.”  The agreement between the Holy See and Israel focuses on the mutual recognition of the two entities, the need for protection of Christians and their holy sites in the Holy Land and economic matters.

"The plenary meeting of the commission took place in an atmosphere of great friendship and a spirit of co-operation and good will,” the Vatican said, noting that “significant progress” was made.

The next plenary meeting will be held December 10 at the Vatican.  Until then, said the statement, the commission “will hold meetings in furtherance of both delegations' pledge to accelerate the talks and conclude the agreement at the earliest opportunity."


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