ASIA/HOLY LAND - Patriarch Twal: "Mercy is a political act par excellence"

Jerusalem – "Children of the world dream of a wonderful celebration with gifts, lights, decorated trees and crèches". However, and I repeat the same words of Pope Francis, everything is distorted "because the world continues to make war". This famous "third world war being fought in pieces", which he speaks of so often, is unfolding before our eyes in our region". This is what the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal writes in his traditional Christmas message, presented this morning at a press conference in Jerusalem, at the headquarters of the Latin Patriarchate, and released by the official media of the Patriarchate. "What a suffering it is, to once again see our beloved Holy Land - caught in the vicious cycle of bloody violence". A perverse mechanism that His Beatitude Twal blames at least in part to the responsibility of Israeli and Palestinian leaders: "Enough of stalling, reluctance and false pretenses! Respect international resolutions! Listen to the voice of your people who aspire for peace, act in their best interests!" says the message, sent to Agenzia Fides.
The violence suffered by the people of the Holy Land are similar to those suffered by other peoples, in a world beset by conflict and terrorism. "These terrible wars", the patriarchal message reads, "are driven by arms trade, involving several international powers". A scenario in front of which "military response and the way of force cannot solve the problems of humanity". According to the Patriarch, "We need to find the root and cause of this scourge, and to tackle them. We must combat poverty and injustice, which may constitute a breeding ground for terrorism. Similarly, we must promote education on tolerance and acceptance of the other". The "way of mercy" suggested by Pope Francis with the beginning of the Jubilee Year represents a response full of suggestions, even at a social and geopolitical point of view. "Mercy" said Patriarch Twal "is not limited to individual relationships but embraces public life in all its sectors at all levels and in all directions". And "when mercy becomes a basic component of public action, the world can be transformed from the sphere of selfish interests to that of human values". This is why - says the Patriarch - "Mercy is a political act par excellence, provided the policy is set in its noblest sense, of caring for the human family".
In his Christmas message, His BeatitudeTwal invites to live the Year of Mercy visiting the Holy Land. Pilgrims - reassured the Patriarch - "should not be afraid to come. Despite the tense situation in this land, the pilgrim route is safe". At the same time, the current political situation suggests for moderate celebrations "in favor of deepening our spiritual sense of this remembrance. For this reason - suggests the Patriarch "we invite every parish to switch off Christmas tree lights for five minutes in solidarity with all victims of violence and terrorism. Similarly, our Christmas Mass will be offered for the victims and their families, that they take to heart, the participation in the joy and peace of Christmas".