The Patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Fouad Twal, encouraged Jews, Muslims and Christians in the Holy Land this week to embrace dialogue and collaboration in order to overcome “the conflict and violence” in the region, and thus reap the fruits of the recent visit by Pope Benedict XVI.
Speaking on Vatican Radio, the archbishop underscored that “the Church has always been an element of peace, collaboration and pacification. Therefore we hope to be able to advance in this mission.”
Commenting on the formation of Christians, the Patriarch explained that “especially in Jordan and Palestine, we who live with Muslims see our schools turned into places of dialogue and of life when young people play and study together. Through them we are in contact with Muslim families, the same families who come to us with so much trust.”
“This is the safest method—even after 20 years—to prepare people to get to know each other, respect and love each other,” the Patriarch said. The teaching imparted “by Catholic schools should be a means for conveying our values of respect, dignity and dialogue,” he added.
The Patriarch went on to say that the aid Christians receive in the Holy Land helps keep them present in the region, as “many young couples cannot even celebrate their wedding or start a family because they don’t have the resources to build a home.”
“With the aid from these organizations, we can ensure housing for these young Christian couples. And this is one of the many means to give them hope,” he said.
Referring later to the visit by Pope Benedict XVI to the Holy Land, the Patriarch said the Pope’s visit “has sowed many things. It has sowed peace, dialogue and reconciliation. We hope to be able to reap the fruits in the future, for the good of all the inhabitants and for the good of peace in the Holy Land.”