Pope Urges International Leaders to Proceed With Prudence Regarding Jerusalem

The Pope's words came ahead of an expected announcement by U.S. President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital city by establishing the American embassy to Israel there. "At the same time, I appeal strongly for all to respect the city's status quo, in accordance with the relevant United Nations resolutions", the pope said, in his weekly address.

US President Donald Trump will deliver his speech, expecting the US president to "recognize the reality" that Jerusalem has always been the capital of Israel and to declare the move to the US diplomatic mission from Tel Aviv and which for decades remained a reason of contention between Israelis and Palestinians.

The Vatican supports a two-state solution.

In Bangladesh, a majority Muslim country, the pope's trip was aimed at fostering dialogue between Islam and Catholicism, following in the footsteps of the previous papal visits by Pope Paul VI and Saint John Paul II.

He added that Israel must not allow its own interests to "disrupt what the United Nations has repeated many times, and what has also been the logical and coherent position of the Holy See for all the past decades". In recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital, the USA would be the first country to do so since the state was established in 1948.

Palestinians and Arab leaders across the region have criticized President Trump's decision, which includes a plan to move the USA embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Prior to his General Audience, the Pope met with a Palestinian delegation of religious and intellectual leaders in the Vatican, in which he called for a dialogue marked by "reciprocal respect" for the rights of everyone in the Holy Land while expressing his hope for "peace and prosperity" for the Palestinian people.

The Vatican has long sought an internationally guaranteed status for Jerusalem that safeguards its sacred character for Jews, Muslims and Christians.

In this context, Christians there are the "leaven of God", he said, and he called the Church in Burma a "living and fervent" community that he had the joy of meeting and affirming in faith and communion.

Most importantly the pope, who has recently been under scrutiny by some for not calling out the Rohingya by name during his trip and by others for not focusing enough on the persecution against Christians, stressed his commitment to fostering peace.

  • Rogelio Becker