Hebrew-Israeli Catholics Get New Bishop

JERUSALEM, NOV. 9, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem consecrated Auxiliary Bishop Jean Baptiste Gourion Sunday, to tend to the pastoral needs of Hebrew-Israeli Catholics.

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Born in Algeria (1934) to a Jewish family, Bishop Gourion was baptized at 23 in France. He entered the Benedictine Abbey of Bec (once home to the famous medieval writer and teacher of epistemic “hyper realism,” Lanfranc, a disciple of St. Anselm of Canterbury). In 1976, Gourion became superior of an Olivetan Benedictine monastery in Abu Gosh, a peaceful Hebrew-speaking Israeli village.

Father Frederic Manns, Professor at the Franciscan Studium Biblicum in Jerusalem, claims there may be some 400 Hebrew Catholics in the State of Israel today. The overwhelming majority of Christians in the Holy Land are Palestinians of Arab origin. Arab citizens of the State of Israel are known as “Arab Israeli’s.”

In Italy’s “Avvenire,” Father Manns claimed the new bishop’s consecration begins a “new phase” in Catholic-Jewish dialogue. It is an episcopal office without precedent.

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