Pope Francis: I Cannot Hide 'My Deep Concern' Over Jerusalem

Pope Francis: I Cannot Hide 'My Deep Concern' Over Jerusalem

Pope Francis: I Cannot Hide 'My Deep Concern' Over Jerusalem

Pope Francis today made an appeal for world actors to respect of the status quo of Jerusalem, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions, and to let "wisdom and prudence prevail" so as "to avoid adding new elements of tension" in the Middle East and "in a world already shaken and scarred by many cruel conflicts".

Francis said he was "profoundly concerned" about recent developments concerning Jerusalem, and declared the city a unique and sacred place for Christians, Jews and Muslims that has a "special vocation for peace".

"I pray to God that this identity is preserved and reinforced, for the sake of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world, and that wisdom and prudence prevail", he said.

Trump is due on Wednesday to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and set in motion the relocation of the U.S. Embassy to the ancient city, senior U.S. officials said, a decision that upends decades of U.S. policy and risks fuelling further violence in the Middle East.

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Pope Francis called on President Donald Trump to respect the "status quo" and not move the USA embassy to Jerusalem.

Debate on the issue is in many ways the crux of the conflict between Israel and Palestine, which is backed by Arab leaders, including Saudi Arabia, and the wider Islamic world.

My thoughts now turn to Jerusalem.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, former Vatican envoy to the U.N.in Geneva, said any move away from the Status Quo in Jerusalem "could have unforeseen consequences".

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Jerusalem remains at the core of the Israel-Palestine conflict, with Palestinians hoping that East Jerusalem - now occupied by Israel - might eventually serve as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, then, is likely to increase tension on the issue, particularly in regards to the 200,000-some settlements Israel has built in East Jerusalem, which are considered illegal under global law, though Israel disputes this stance.

The Pope centered his homily on the day's reading from Isaiah (11:1-10), in which the prophet foretells the coming of the Messiah as a shoot that "shall sprout from the stump of Jesse", and says that "the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him". The Holy See has always been against any change in the status of Jerusalem.

He noted how his November 27-30 visit to Burma marked the first time a Pope has ever traveled to the country, which took place just months after the Holy See established full diplomatic relations with the nation in May. He also voiced his hope that "peace and prosperity" would prevail for the Palestinian people.

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Most importantly the pope, who has recently been under scrutiny by some for not calling out the Rohingya by name during his trip and by others for not focusing enough on the persecution against Christians, stressed his commitment to fostering peace.

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