Jerusalem Could Be a Source of Peace, Says Cardinal

Addresses a Meeting on the Holy City

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ROME, SEPT. 14, 2004 ( Jerusalem could change from being a problem to being a motive for peace in the Holy Land, says Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran.

The cardinal suggested this at the closing of the meeting entitled «Jerusalem, Where Does Your Name Dwell?» organized by the Italian Monastery of Camaldoli at the initiative of Il Regno magazine.

The cardinal, who for 13 years was Vatican secretary for relations with states, highlighted Jerusalem as the «fulcrum» of a possible solution of the Palestinian-Israeli controversy and as a city of peace and element of union and pacification between both peoples.

In this context, Cardinal Tauran on Sunday reiterated the Holy See’s position that to guard the unique character of Jerusalem, it is necessary «to elaborate a special status, guaranteed in the international realm for the most sacred places of the city.»

The cardinal recalled three related concerns of Pius XII, Paul VI and John Paul II: «the safeguarding of the sacred character of Jerusalem»; «the survival of the religious communities,» in particular, the Catholic; and «peace in the Holy Land.»

«The Popes have always been aware that Jerusalem offers an image of three worlds» and «that none of the three monotheist religions must prevail over the others with a full hegemony over the city,» said the cardinal, who is currently the librarian of the Holy Roman Church.

What must be avoided is «that this holy city be turned into a museum of stones and shrines for pilgrims,» the cardinal said, referring to the unease over the number of Christians who are emigrating from Jerusalem.

«For us the shrines are and must be in living communities, with schools, hospitals, craftsmanship and work, and all that is related with social life,» he added.

«If Christian communities disappeared, Jerusalem would become like Rome’s Colosseum,» he said. «And this is a misfortune that must be avoided.»

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