Nuncio Views the Dire Situation in Holy Land

Scene Facing Ariel Sharon’s New Government

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JERUSALEM, JAN. 30, 2003 ( Ariel Sharon’s new government in Israel will have to take into consideration the deep impasse in the Mideast conflict, says a papal nuncio.

«We must be honest,» Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the nuncio in Israel, told Vatican Radio after the victory by the Likud Party in Tuesday’s elections. «The Pope has pointed out four pillars on which peace is based: the first is truth, the second is justice, the third is love, and the fourth is liberty.»

The present situation, in which «not only peace has disappeared from the horizon, but the horizon itself has disappeared,» shows that the way chosen so far, that of violence, is wrong, the archbishop stressed.

He pointed out the courage of Christians who have decided to stay in the area. They can receive support in many ways, including from people who make pilgrimages to the holy places.

A pilgrimage is not only useful for one who undertakes it, but also «helps Christians who see that their brothers in the faith are present,» the nuncio said.

«There has been no pilgrim martyr,» Archbishop Sambi pointed out, rejecting the idea of danger as regards pilgrimages. «I have received several groups since Christmas … none had problems.»

There is great concern in the Holy Land over a possible war against Iraq, the nuncio said. A «war cannot be waged except in a case of extreme necessity, once all other means have been exhausted,» he said. «In any event, war is always a defeat for humanity.»

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