In The Holy See and the Holy Places, I stated that the Vatican’s calculated violations of the 1993 Fundamental Agreement between Israel and the Holy See provided an excellent illustration of their time-honoured tactics.
To that list of violations we can add yet another statement full of the rhetoric of peace and love, exuding as always clouds of sanctimony, spiritual supremacy, and faux sincerity, yet calculated to inflame.
Lenten Message of Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
"Build a New Life and a New Society For All"
Archbishop Michel Sabbah, Patriarch, Jerusalem, Ash Wednesday, February 21, 2007
[Translation by the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem. Text adapted]
Complete article at Zenit.org
"Brothers and Sisters, The grace and peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.
We are entering the Lenten season. With Jesus we go to the desert of Jericho which, today, is telling us two things: first, that the desert which still surrounds it is the same one where Jesus went to fast and pray before bringing his message to the world; and second, that Jericho is a small prison city, like all the other Palestinian cities, a symbol of the conflict situation that has become the context in which we live, generation after generation, and day after day...
"The vocation to be leaven in the dough of Jesus' own land requires that we stay in this land, even though life in other lands might be easier. The vocation to be leaven is a vocation to live the commandment of love in order to forgive, while at the same time demanding all the rights that have been lost, and in order to transform life into a sharing of goods and sacrifices. This sharing can make all of us, with all of our differences in religion and nationality, true builders of the new society that must arise in this Holy Land for all of us, Jews, Druze, Muslims and Christians.
"We are called to a difficult life in the midst of a conflict that still continues in Palestine, and that has repercussions in the other countries of our diocese, Israel and Jordan, [and the] occupation and all that it implies: the restrictions on our freedom, the wall, the military checkpoints, the deprivations, the Israeli soldiers who, at any time, enter our Palestinian cities, kill people, take prisoners, uproot trees, and destroy houses.
"And add to that, the lack of vision within Palestinian society, and the lack of security which is exploited by some who permit themselves to disobey the laws and to oppress their brothers, especially those who bear arms and who use them to oppress and to steal the money of others, and the internal struggles that are not going away..."
Article 11, section 2, of the Fundamental Agreement between Israel and the Holy See reads:
“The Holy See, while maintaining in every case the right to exercise its moral and spiritual teaching-office, deems it opportune to recall that, owing to its own character, it is solemnly committed to remaining a stranger to all merely temporal conflicts, which principle applies specifically to disputed territories and unsettled borders.”
This declaration that the Holy See never soils its hands or even deigns to regard lowly temporal concerns such as 'disputed territories or unsettled borders, reflects the Curia's many pious statements to the international community concerning the Vatican's public attitude to Israel. Statements by its agents on the ground, however, reveal the Vatican's unstated agenda all too clearly.
In the pursuit of this agenda for Israel, as I stated in The Holy See and the Holy Places, "we see encapsulated the timeless animating principles of the Vatican’s will to power : there is no deception she will not entertain, there is no hypocrisy she will not tolerate, there is no calculated lie she will not tell, there is no pledge she will not break, and there is no friend she will not betray in her relentless campaign to establish ‘spiritual’ hegemony over the entire world. In the case of Jerusalem, the goal is a legally enforceable international religious status for the city, which will of course require the oversight of a religious institution, which will of course be none other than herself.