I grew up Catholic and although I haven’t been to church in a long time; I would be lying if I said this doesn’t speak very powerfully to me.
“The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands,” Monsignor Cyril Salim Bustros, Greek Melkite archbishop of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Boston, Massachusetts, and president of the “Commission for the Message,” said at Saturday’s Vatican press conference.
“We Christians cannot speak of the ‘promised land’ as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people – all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people.
The good Bishop went further; into what was in effect an endorsement of a one state solution.
“Even if the head of the Israeli state is Jewish, the future is based on democracy.
The Palestinian refugees will eventually come back and this problem will have to be solved,” the Lebanese-born Bustros said.
Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See, Mordechay Lewy’s thought provoking and nuanced response:
“by inviting all Palestinian refugees to return and denying Israel’s right to define itself a Jewish state – the only such in the world – he is regressing to hard-line positions that deny Israel’s right to exist.”
One of the most powerful organizations in the world, the Catholic Church, has called Israel’s founding myth “nullified”. So, what is the response of Israel? That the Bishops are Jew-baiting hard-liners. Awesome.
Unfortunately, the document released to the public did contain a plea for the “two state solution”:
In their “Appeal to the International Community” the bishops expressed “hopes that the two-state solution becomes a reality and not only a dream.”
The Catholics continued:
The document calls for “taking the necessary legal steps to put an end to the occupation of the different Arab territories” as well as “an end to the consequences of the deadly war in Iraq” and promotion of “basic public freedoms” and “sovereignty” in Lebanon.
What impact will this have? Will people like my war loving devout Catholic sister change her views on the occupations of the Middle East? I don’t know. I think it’s one of many drops in the bucket which will eventually give way to the flood we’ve all been waiting for.