What Christians in Holy Land Are Armed With

Zenit, Italy
Feb 23 2005

What Christians in Holy Land Are Armed With

Auxiliary Bishop Marcuzzo of Jerusalem Surveys Scene

JERUSALEM, FEB. 22, 2005 (Zenit.org).- A bishop of Jerusalem says
that Christians, as bearers of values such as justice, peace, dignity
and human rights, can make a key contribution to solving the Mideast

Christians’ weapons are those of “negotiation, patience and
bridge-building,” said Auxiliary Bishop Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, in
a statement to ZENIT.

The Italian-born prelate has been in the Holy Land for 44 years. He
was ordained bishop 11 years ago and has been patriarchal vicar of
the Latin Church in Israel for the past decade.

Although designated as such in newspapers, he is not bishop of
Nazareth, but a bishop who lives in Nazareth, since most Christians
in the region live in that area.

The prelate said that there has always been a Christian community
there, “a thread that runs through everything, incarnated in the
culture and local society, through the ups and downs of political and
ecclesial powers and jurisdictions.”

“Today Christians in the Holy Land regard themselves as heirs of the
first Christian community, something that cannot be understood if one
does not keep in mind this transmission of the teachings of Christ
from one generation to the other, from one people to another, between
one regime and another,” the auxiliary bishop said.

The first Christians in the main were Jews, while the present
community is Arab-Palestinian, but this does not mean that the latter
“do not consider themselves descendants of the first Christian
community, in the thread of faith,” he noted.

That the Christian community is surrounded by a Muslim majority,
under the political jurisdiction of Israel, is “a new historical,
cultural and social experience,” for which there is no “model or
experience of reference,” said Bishop Marcuzzo.

“We must mark out our path,” he said. “The Christian community lives
a twofold minority condition, in the Arab community and in Israel.
Consider a person who is Arab, Christian and a citizen of Israel. To
be these three things at the same time is difficult; it is a
challenge that we have addressed in our diocesan synod.

“During the synod we said that we should recover the original land of
our identity, that is, the Mother Church, the Church of the Apostles,
the Church of the Holy Sites, the Church of the Gospel; we have
rediscovered there a fertile terrain, not tainted by history.”

He added: “By vocation, we chose to be the Church in the Holy Land
and to stay here.”

The Diocesan Synod of the Catholic Churches in the Holy Land closed
in February 2000 with the holding of an assembly that gave origin to
the General Pastoral Plan.

The plan was the result of a process of several years involving the
Latin, Greek-Catholic (Melkite), Syro-Catholic, Maronite,
Armenian-Catholic and Chaldean Churches, and the Franciscan Custody
of the Holy Land.

The plan is entitled “Faithful to Christ, Co-responsible in the
Church, Witnesses in Society.”

Bishop Marcuzzo said that there are difficulties in relations with
Muslims, but the problems are not “insurmountable.”

The General Pastoral Plan may be requested from the Latin
Patriarchate of Jerusalem at [email protected] or from the Vicariate of
Nazareth at [email protected].