Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of January 27, 2003
Middle East situation deteriorating -- CCCB
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
The president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops says the situation for Christians in the Middle East is deteriorating.
"One year after my last visit to the Holy Land, I saw that there is more violence and poverty, more unemployment, more emigration, that security measures are more oppressive and control points more numerous," said Bishop Jacques Berthelet, in a news release Jan. 20.
"Suffering and hopelessness are more present among the people and there is a general feeling of resignation."
The bishop had just returned to Canada following a symposium on the future of the Holy Land held in Jerusalem and attended by bishops from North America and Europe. During the visit the delegates also met with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat and Israeli State President Moshe Katsav.
Berthelet and the other bishops recommitted themselves to support the process for an unconditional peace in a statement at the end of the meeting. "Until God grants the peace for which we all long, we promise to work without ceasing to help sustain you, our brothers and sisters in faith in Jerusalem, Palestine, Israel and Jordan," it said.
Berthelet agreed with local authorities who expressed their hope pilgrimages to the Holy Land be undertaken anew.
"Pilgrimages would be a sign of our spiritual and material support. It would underline the solidarity of Christians throughout the world with those in the Holy Land."