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라틴대주교, 교황의 성지방문에 따른 정치적 의미 배제

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2000-03-17 00:18
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Pope's visit to Holy Land has no political meaning, says Latin
Patriarch
ENI-00-0092

By Ross Dunn
Jerusalem, 15 March (ENI)--The senior Roman Catholic church
leader in the Holy Land has rejected claims that Pope John Paul
II's forthcoming visit to the region is part of efforts by the
Vatican to intervene in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Latin Patriarch in Jerusalem, Archbishop Michel Sabbah, told
a news conference in Jerusalem on 14 March that the Pope's
pilgrimage should not be dragged into the political arena. The
visit was, he said, intended to symbolise the Pope's strong
commitment to peace between all faiths.

Archbishop Sabbah was responding to a journalist who asked
whether the Vatican's recent decision to sign a document with the
Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) indicated a desire by the
Pope to "meddle" in local affairs.

The Israeli government said the papal accord with the PLO called
into question Jewish sovereignty over the whole of Jerusalem,
which the Palestinians - as well as the Israelis who control it -
claim as their political and religious capital.

But Archbishop Sabbah said: "The Holy Father [the Pope] will
pray. He will meet with all believers, with all Christians -
Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants - with Muslims and Jews and
all the heads of state.

"What he will deliver as a general message in all his speeches
and homilies will be a message of love, reconciliation, of making
peace. So this question of meddling or not meddling in the peace
process is not a question that concerns the pilgrimage of the
Holy Father."

Archbishop Sabbah said the Pope's visit to Jerusalem would not
strengthen either Palestinian or Israeli claims to the Holy
City.

"He will visit Jerusalem as it is, but coming to visit and
coming to pray will never be a confirmation or denial of any
political rights," the patriarch said. "There is no relation at
all between prayer and political rights or disputes. How
Jerusalem is now it will remain, before the visit of the Pope and
after the visit of the Pope. The status of Jerusalem is what is
before the international community - before and after the visit
of the Pope."

The Pope will visit holy sites in Israel and the Palestinian
territories from 21 to 26 March, following a brief visit to
Jordan. Controversy is already growing over John Paul's agreement
to make a pilgrimage to two sites, one on each side of the Jordan
River. The sites are the subject of a bitter argument between
Israel and Jordan, with each claiming that Jesus was baptised at
the site on its side of the river.

Archbishop Sabbah has already been criticised by the Jordanian
authorities for reportedly suggesting that the true site is on
the Israeli side. But at the press conference the patriarch
refused to comment further.

Another highlight of the Pope's visit will be a speech about
reconciliation between Jews and Christians, to be given at Yad
Vashem in Jerusalem, the Israeli monument to those who perished
in the Holocaust.

Archbishop Sabbah said he was unable to provide any early
insights into whether the papal address would go far enough to
satisfy demands for a full apology over the failure of the
Catholic Church to take strong action to prevent the murder of
six million Jews by the Nazis.

Michael McGarry, a Roman Catholic priest who ministers in a
church near Bethlehem, said yesterday that Christians carried a
great spiritual burden for failing to stop the Holocaust. But he
added the Vatican had already gone a long way in addressing the
issue.

"We have said as Roman Catholics, with the leadership of the
Pope, that there are things that we have done in our past that
provide an atmosphere within which the Holocaust occurred, and we
did not put it out, did not stop it," he told ENI. "Not enough of
us stepped out from the sidelines to save our Jewish brothers and
sisters. There was not enough leadership, maybe even sinful
leadership. We did not speak out. There was not enough that we
did, and we continue that examination of our conscience."

Pope John Paul, a native of Poland who lost boyhood Jewish
friends in the Holocaust, has spoken and written more than any
other pontiff on the relationship between Catholics and Jews.

Rabbi David Rosen, director general of the Israeli office of the
Anti-Defamation League, agreed at the press conference on 14
March that Pope John Paul had made a contribution to
reconciliation between Catholics and Jews.

But the rabbi said that this was a recent development. For
nearly 2000 years, the Catholic Church had taught Christians to
have contempt for the Jews. "The Catholic Church taught that the
Jewish Temple was destroyed and they [the Jews] were kicked out
of their land as part of a cosmic plan, not just because the
Romans did not like the rebellious Jews, but because this was
God's punishment on the Jews for their failure to recognise the
true dispensation," he said.

"Therefore, Jews were going to wander forever until they
recognised their failure or until the final advent, in which they
would recognise it one way or another, as proof of the fact of
the truth of Christianity.

"Therefore, the idea of the return of the Jewish people to the
land [of Israel], and the
establishment of the sovereignty [of Israel], was an anathema
from a Christian perspective [until recently]."

Rabbi Rosen said the Catholic Church had now virtually reversed
course - from a religion that held Jews in contempt to one that
had pledged to fight anti-Semitism around the globe.

In 1965, the Vatican declared a new theological approach to the
Jews and Judaism, promoting dialogue and rejecting discrimination
and anti-Semitism.

In 1993, the Holy See and Israel normalised diplomatic
relations. But this has not always meant a smooth relationship
between Israel and the Vatican, as shown by last month's dispute
over the Vatican's views on the status of Jerusalem. The Vatican
does not recognise Israel's claim that Jerusalem is its undivided
and eternal capital.

Last year the Vatican severely criticised Israel for allowing
the construction of a mosque near a major Christian holy site in
Nazareth, the town of Jesus' boyhood.

In another sign of friction with the Vatican, hundreds of Rabbis
recently signed a petition calling for the Pope to cancel plans
to celebrate Mass on a Saturday - the Jewish Sabbath - during his
visit here. The Rabbis said such an action would "desecrate" the
Sabbath.