Pope Francis has called for the respect of the status quo in Jerusalem in accordance with the United Nations resolutions of the city.
The statement follows the wake of the decision by the United States government to move their embassy to Jerusalem and recognize it as the capital of Israel. The decision has sparked much controversy and has been commented on by world leaders across the globe.
Pope Francis made his appeal during his Wednesday morning general audience at the Paul VI Audience Hall saying,
“My thoughts go to Jerusalem and I cannot keep silent my deep concern for the situation that has been created in the past days. I would like to make a heartfelt appeal for everyone’s commitment to respect the city’s status quo, in conformity with the pertinent United Nations Resolutions”
Pope Francis called Jerusalem a city “holy for Jews, Christians and Muslims, who venerate the Holy Sites of their respective religions.” He added,
“I pray to the Lord that its identity is preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world and that wisdom and prudence prevail to prevent new elements of tension from being added to a global context already convulsed by so many cruel conflicts.”
Prior to his statement during his general audience, Pope Francis met with Palestinian religious delegates who were scheduled with the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The Pontiff stressed a plan to work with the delegates on interfaith issues, and he expressed hope for “peace and prosperity” for the Palestinian people. He added,
“The primary condition of that dialogue is reciprocal respect and a commitment to strengthening that respect, for the sake of recognizing the rights of all people, wherever they happen to be”
Pope Francis made his remarks in Italian, with a translated transcript below:
“My thoughts now go to Jerusalem. In this regard, I can not deny my deep concern about the situation that has arisen in recent days and, at the same time, make a heartfelt plea to ensure that everyone is committed to respecting the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant Resolutions of United Nations.
Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians and Muslims, who venerate the Holy Places of their respective religions, and has a special vocation to peace.
I pray the Lord that this identity is preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world and that wisdom and prudence prevail, to avoid adding new elements of tension in a world already convulsed and marked by many and cruel conflicts.”