Future Jerusalem Patriarch Implores More Aid

AUGSBURG, Germany, APRIL 17, 2008 (Zenit.org).- The future Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Archbishop Fouad Twal, is urging a greater solidarity with the Christians of the Holy Land, whose communities are dwindling due to emigration.

The archbishop, in Augsburg for a congress organized by Aid to the Church in Need last weekend, said the Christians “have been forgotten by the political leaders. Fifty years ago, Christians were still 10% of the Arabic population. Now they are less than 2%.”

Archbishop Twal, 64, a native of Madaba, Jordan, is the coadjutor of Jerusalem. He will soon succeed Archbishop Michel Sabbah, the current patriarch, who has said he will retire, having reached the age limit.

Archbishop Twal urged Christians of the West to remember their brothers and sisters inhabiting the land of Jesus’ birth, ministry and death.

Christians in the Holy Land are caught in the crossfire in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, he said. Like many Palestinians, they are now enclosed behind the West Bank separation barrier, which impedes their free movement, sometimes even making it impossible to have access to medical care.