Pope Francis spoke about Jerusalem at his general audience on December 6, 2017, just a few hours before US President Donald Trump affirmed that his government recognizes Jerusalem as “the capital of Israel.” Pope Francis said: “I cannot remain silent about my deep concern for the situation that has developed in recent days and, at the same time, I wish to make a heartfelt appeal to ensure that everyone is committed to respecting the status quo of the city, in accordance with the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.” He noted that “Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred to Jews, Christians, and Muslims, where the Holy Places for the respective religions are venerated, and it has a special vocation to peace. I pray to the Lord that such identity be preserved and strengthened for the benefit of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the entire world, and that wisdom and prudence prevail, to avoid adding new elements of tension in a world already shaken and scarred by many cruel conflicts.”
How has the Holy See’s position on Jerusalem developed over the last 100 years?
The Holy See’s position on Jerusalem
Jerusalem is more than just a geographic location or a socio-political reality for Jews, Christians and Muslims. Jerusalem is a holy space where God’s revelation of God’s self unfolded over the generations. Ancient Israel’s direct progeny, Judaism, Christianity and Islam all look toward Jerusalem, lovingly venerating the Holy Places in the city’s precincts but also zealously watching that the faithful of other religions do not overstep the invisible boundaries set by tradition and history. Christians, Muslims and Jews have all had their turn ruling the city; however, Jerusalem’s vocation to be “city of peace” has yet to be realized.