based on a story From Israel Today magazine...edited for clarity and expanded with facts and comments by Alan Franklin.
A Catholic synod called at the Vatican to address the rising Moslem persecution of Christians in the Middle East ended with a statement demanding Israel end its “occupation” of Arab lands.
The gathering was meant to address Islam persecution, intimidation and discrimination that is resulting in a dwindling of Christian communities across the region. Israel is the only nation in the Middle East with a rising Christian population as Christian arabs flee to a safe haven! But the bulk of the two-week meeting was spent discussing how Israel is allegedly the root cause of all the Middle East’s woes, including those faced by its Christians.
The final statement reflected that position. It listed the “occupation” of Arab lands, the building of Israel’s security barrier, military checkpoints, the jailing of terrorists (defined in the statement as “political prisoners”) and the general disruption of Palestinian life as some of the main reasons behind the exodus of Palestinian Christians and Muslim attacks on the Jewish state. Of course, Palestinians "disrupted Israeli life" by blowing themselves up on buses and in cafes before being stopped by the security fence and increased security. That's why shopping centers have armed guards at their entrances.
Cyril Salim Bustros, the Lebanon-born Greek archbishop of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Boston, Massachusetts was responsible for delivering the final statement, saying that “the Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands.” This shows how little this ignorant man knows his Bible, which repeatedly declares that God's promises of the land were to the Jews! Furthermore, God's covenants are everlasting and can never be broken. If any church group would like to hear the Biblical truth of all this I will be pleased to come and give you a series of Bible-based talks, illustrated by Powerpoint. I am available in Britain, America and Canada - Alan.
Bustros then claimed that the original promises made by God to the children of Israel “were nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people.” He rejected the idea of Israel as “the Jewish state,” and insisted that eventually all the so-called “Palestinian refugees” must return to the land, a sure recipe for the demographic destruction of the world’s only Jewish nation-state.
Mordechai Levi, Israel’s ambassador to the Vatican, decried Bustros’ comments and the damage they had done to strengthening ties between Israel and the Church.
A Vatican spokesman later stated that the Church's official position is the synod's declaration, and not Mr. Bustros' explanatory remarks. However, he did not outright reject what Mr. Bustros said, even though it would appear to contradict more recent Vatican declarations that God's promises to the Jews remain intact.
It should be noted that the synod declaration, in its section addressed to the Jews, insisted that "recourse to...biblical positions which use the Word of God to wrongly justify injustices is not acceptable."
The only thing Israel and its supporters use the Bible to justify in this case is the Jews' right to the land, including Judea and Samaria. If the Vatican is now saying that the Bible and the divine promises therein no longer give the Jews claim to the land, as Mr. Bustros tried to clarify, then for many the Vatican's commitment to its earlier declaration regarding the Jews and God's promises to them remains at least partially in question.