Monday, March 30, 2009

Israel's Pact with the Devil?

Warning Issued Not to Sign With Vatican
by Hillel Fendel

Pope Benedictus XVI is scheduled to arrive in Israel six weeks from now, and concern is growing over possibly irreversible Israeli concessions to the Church.

For more than ten years, Israel and the Vatican have been negotiating a diplomatic agreement regarding their tax dispute over Catholic Church properties in Israel, as well as other issues over which they disagree. Though public details are sparse to nil, Foreign Ministry officials say major progress has been made – leading many to fear that the Church will be granted a political and religious foothold in the Holy Land.

Though Church officials hope the agreement will be completed before the Pope’s arrival in May, this is not certain. The Foreign Ministry’s Bahij Mansour, who heads its religious affairs section, said two weeks ago, "We are 85-90% there.”

Mansour also said that most issues still in dispute would be resolved in a meeting in April. Different reports say the meeting will take place either April 7 or April 23 - before and after Passover, respectively - and is to involve relatively high-level officials from both the Vatican and Israel’s Foreign Ministry.

The Sanhedrin, a body of 71 rabbis that is attempting to renew the ancient tradition of Judaism’s most authoritative court, has written a public letter to Israel’s leading officials, warning that any agreement regarding the transfer of national, historic, and/or religious Jewish assets to the Catholic Church will be null and void and will not be recognized by Jewish authorities. ...more

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