At conference on Christians in the Middle East, US Melkite archbishop says: "There is no longer a chosen people."
By Lisa Palmieri-Billig
Jerusalem Post Correspondent
ROME – Bishops from the Middle East who were summoned to Rome by the pope demanded on Saturday that Israel accept UN resolutions calling for an end to its “occupation” of Arab lands.
In a final joint communique, the bishops also told Israel it shouldn’t use the Bible to justify “injustices” against the Palestinians.
The bishops issued the statement at the close of their two-week meeting, called by Pope Benedict XVI to discuss the plight of Christians in the Middle East amid a major exodus of the faithful from the region.
The Catholic Church has long been a minority in the largely Muslim region but its presence is shrinking further as a result of war, conflict, discrimination and economic problems.
“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,” Monsignor Cyril Salim Bustros, Greek Melkite archbishop of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Boston, Massachusetts, and president of the “Commission for the Message,” said at Saturday’s Vatican press conference.
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