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Jewish-Catholic Dialogue in the Shadow of the War in Gaza
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On September 30, 2023, Pope Francis elevated the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, to the dignity of cardinal together with twenty other prelates from around the world. This was the first time in the history of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, established in 1847, that an incumbent joined the consistory.

Speaking to Andrea Tornielli, the editorial director of Vatican Media, the cardinal-elect had said in July 2023 that he interprets the decision to create him cardinal as “a sign of attention from the Church of Rome toward the Mother Church, the Church of Jerusalem.” The choice of Italian Franciscan Pizzaballa to head the diocese of Jerusalem, first as Apostolic Administrator in 2017 and then as Patriarch in 2020 had come as a surprise.

Since 1987, the Patriarch of Jerusalem had been an Arab. From 1987 to 2008, Palestinian Michel Sabbah had filled the role, the first Palestinian to be named to the position. His defense of justice and peace, daring to challenge Israeli policies, had occasionally created tensions with the Israeli authorities.

Pizzaballa is a Hebrew speaker and has long been engaged in Christian-Jewish dialogue. He has played an active role in the Holy See’s Commission for Dialogue with the Jews. His appointment was seen as a positive step by Israelis.
© Union of Catholic Asian News 2024
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