Pope urges respect for Jerusalem status quo

Pope urges respect for Jerusalem status quo

Pope urges respect for Jerusalem status quo

The Pope's words came ahead of an expected announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital city by establishing the American embassy to Israel there.

The decision could potentially dismantle 22 years of US foreign policy in the Middle East and would likely enrage Muslims who view Jerusalem as the potential capital of the Palestinian state.

Francis said he was "profoundly concerned" about recent developments concerning Jerusalem, and declared the city a unique and sacred place for Christians, Jews and Muslims that has a "special vocation for peace". The Argentine pontiff called for "wisdom and prudence to avoid adding new elements of tension in a world panorama that is already unharmonious and marked by many cruel conflicts".

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The pope experienced first hand the consequences of war and conflict during his recent trip to Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Burma, a majority Buddhist country where minorities, including Christians, often face stigma and discrimination, is still working to transition to a democratic government after more than 50 years of military rule, while also facing harsh criticism from the worldwide community over what the United Nations has called a "textbook case of ethnic cleansing" of Rohingya Muslims from the country's Rakhine State. Renewed conflict broke out in the Gaza Strip soon thereafter. "A people where the Buddhist religion is deeply rooted, with its spiritual and ethical principles, and where Christians are present as a small flock and yeast of the Kingdom of God".

He spoke of having open communication and holding talks between differing religions "and also in civil society".

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While some believe that "being humble means being polite, courteous and closing your eyes in prayer", accepting humiliation is the only real sign of humility, the Pope said in his homily December 5 at morning Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae. Francis, former Pope Benedict and Pope John Paul II all visited Israel and Palestinian territories. Francis emphasized that the Vatican has long supported the Bangladeshi people's desire to be an independent nation and their will to promote religious freedom.

The Pope also said Trump's move could inflame the Muslim world.

We are certain that such steps will yield increased hatred, conflict, violence and suffering in Jerusalem and the Holy Land, moving us farther from the goal of unity and deeper toward destructive division.

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Francis issued his appeal at the end of his Wednesday public audience in the Vatican yesterday.

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