Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
Official Statement:
Israel taking unjustifiable measures with regard
to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem
December 13, 2002

The Latin Patriarchate, which represents the principal Catholic Church in Jerusalem, has recently witnessed different measures taken by the Israeli government with regard to its Arab clergy and its Jordanian seminarians (Jordan is part of the Patriarchate).  This has also been the case with regard to certain religious congregations present in the Holy Land. Entry visas into the country have been refused and the renewal of residency permits for some has been put off indefinitely.

These actions hinder the pastoral activity of the Church because they make travel within the diocese almost impossible for priests. Furthermore, these actions threaten the very existence of the seminary, which is the heart of the Patriarchate. Two thirds of the seminarians come from Jordan.

Numerous procedures have been undertaken over the past months by the seminary itself, by the official organs of the Patriarchate and by the Apostolic Delegation of Jerusalem (the representative of the Holy Father). Until the present time, no satisfactory response has been given.

These measures are unjustifiable and unacceptable on the part of a government that seeks to respect religious freedom for all in the Holy Land.