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Bishop of Southwark on the Holy Land Communiqué

1 year, 4 months ago

The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, has recently been in the Holy Land as part of the annual Holy Land Coordination Group where he accompanied a group of Roman Catholic Bishops on their pastoral visit.

Speaking after the conclusion of the visit Bishop Christopher said: "It has been a privilege to join, for the third consecutive year, Roman Catholic bishops from around the world for the annual visit of the Vatican mandated Holy Land Co-ordination Group to Israel and Palestine. This visit, coinciding with the Week for Christian Unity, has been a humbling occasion to meet and pray with Christians in both Israel and Palestine and to learn more as to what it means to be Church in this Holy Land."

Following the conclusion of the visit, which this year focused on the 50 years of occupation, with visits to East Jerusalem and other parts of Palestine, the Bishops of the Holy Land Coordination Group issued a communique lamenting the continued absence of peace and the need for all people of faith and none to redouble their efforts to resolve a conflict that continues to inflict untold suffering on Israelis and Palestinians alike.

Bishop Christopher chairing a session with Palestinian student ambassadors from Bethlehem University

Bishop Christopher chairing a session with Palestinian student ambassadors from Bethlehem University (image © Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk)

Speaking in support of the Communiqué Bishop Christopher said: "Sadly, this visit has brought home the stark reality that 50 years on from the 1967 war, the prospects for a negotiated settlement look as distant as ever, while the costs of maintaining the status-quo look alarmingly prohibitive to both sides. Now is the time, before the creation of new facts on the ground finally close the window of opportunity on a two state solution, for both Palestinians and Israelis to recommit to working towards a negotiated political settlement that provides security for Israelis, justice for Palestinians and peace for all. As always Christians continue to be a moderating force for reconciliation and, through the large number of Christian institutions, offer vital services to the wider community. I look forward to working with the Roman Catholic Bishop of Clifton, the Rt Revd Declan Lang, in taking forward the conclusions of this Communique with our Government as well as with the Israeli Ambassador and the Palestinian Diplomatic Representative to the United Kingdom."

The Communique from the Bishops of the Holy Land Coordination Group can be found here: http://catholicnews.org.uk/Home/Featured/Holy-Land-Coordination-2017/HLC-Final-Communique

Bishop Christopher can be seen speaking about the situation in Gaza here: https://vimeo.com/199981781