Nuncio in Holy Land: Will exists for an agreement

After a meeting of the bilateral commission of Israel and the Holy See on December 12 and 13, which is working to establish an accord between the two parties, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Holy Land, Archbishop Antonio Franco said, “There is nothing new. The important thing is that the work is being carried out with determination by both parties.  Decisive will exists to reach a solution.”

Archbishop Franco told the SIR news agency, “What is under discussion is not simply an accord between the state of Israel and the Holy See but also something that has to do with the local Church here.  We are also working in the Church at the local level examining the problems that afflict it.  All of this takes time, study and clarification.”

He said progress was made during the meeting and officials from both sides will meet again “in May of 2008 at the Vatican.”

“Among the decisions assumed during the course of the work is also that of re-activating the work group dealing with the individual properties of the Church, which for various reasons have been taken away or used for other ends, and an effort is underway to re-acquire them,” the nuncio said.

“This work group,” he explained, “sent a report in 2007 to the commission but was not able to meet again.  Now it will be able to work again to carry out new studies of the problems and find a solution.”

Regarding the issue of visas for religious, which has been a problem for Catholics wishing to travel to the Holy Land, Archbishop Franco said, “This was also discussed and is being addressed.  We have been assured that they are seeking a solution to the problem.”

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