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Future of Jerusalem.

Last May, in welcoming a new ambassador from Jordan, Pope John Paul called for formal recognition of "the sacred and unique character of the Holy City." He reiterated his familiar contention that Jerusalem should be under international sovereignty, so that the holy places of the world's three great monotheistic religions would always be protected. Speaking at a conference on the future of Jerusalem at the end of October, Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican's chief foreign affairs official, called the city "a treasure of humanity as a whole."

Rome sees its situation as unique for three reasons: it is regarded as holy by the three great monotheistic religions; it is claimed as a capital by both Israelis and Palestinians; and it is inhabited by a very diverse population. He pointed out that the Vatican has consistently protested against the military occupation of the city since 1967. Once again, he called for international guarantees of open access to it. And he quoted some stirring words of the Holy Father, spoken in 1992:

"What a blessing it would be if this Holy Land, where God spoke and Jesus walked, could become a special place of encounter and prayer for peoples, if this holy city of Jerusalem could be a sign and instrument of peace and reconciliation!"
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Publication:Catholic Insight
Date:Dec 1, 1998
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