LETTER OF THE HOLY FATHER PAUL VI
To Our Beloved Son John G. Nolan
The Pontifical Mission for Palestine, established with admirable foresight and in a spirit of charity by our Predecessor of venerable memory Pius XII, has recently celebrated the Twentyfifth Anniversary of its foundation.
We desire to take this occasion to direct to you, its diligent President, to your collaborators and to all those who have offered and continue to offer their contribution to this work a word of gratitude and appreciation for the activity conducted during these years on behalf of the peoples of Palestine, in the name of the charity of Christ.
We have followed with personal interest this activity in the various forms which it has taken to meet the grave and multiple needs of the refugees, often in coordination with the activity which other organizations, including those which are not Catholic, have commendably carried out.
The work of the Mission for Palestine has been one of the clearest signs of the Holy See’s concern for the welfare of the Palestinians, who are particularly dear to us because they are people of the Holy Land, because they include followers of Christ and because they have been and still are being so tragically tried.
We express again our heartfelt sharing in their sufferings and our support for their legitimate aspirations. May our paternal solicitude bring comfort and encouragement, especially to the refugees, who for years have been living under inhuman conditions.
Unfortunately such a state of affairs has produced in many Palestinians a sense of frustration and, in some, such anguish and desperation as to move them to acts of violent protest which with sorrow we have been constrained strenuously to deplore.
It seems to us, nevertheless, that this is the moment for all Palestinians to look to the future with a constructive, likeminded and responsible attitude, as the hope becomes ever stronger that their particular problems will be them will be found during the peace in the Middle East.
Our Mission for Palestine is rope becomes ever stronger that discussed and that a solution to current general negotiations for thus about to be faced with a compelling task. In addition to continuing its assistance, without distinction of nationality or religion, to those who have suffered or are suffering in any way as a result of the repeated conflicts which have devastated that region, the Mission will have to expect, in the situation which is now evolving, to contribute to projects of aid, of rehabilitation and of development for the population of Palestine. In order that this task may be carried out, it will be necessary to promote in the Catholic world an effective collaboration between all the relief organizations concerned with Palestine.
We therefore exhort you and your collaborators to become the voice of those who are suffering, and to urge Christians to be generous witnesses of charity towards their Palestinian brethren of the Holy Land - as we have already indicated in our Exhortation Nobis in Animo - and to intensify their efforts for the worthy cause of assistance and development.
As an expression of our sentiments of gratitude and in pledge of abundant divine graces, we willingly impart to you and to all those who in any way collaborate with this work of the Mission for Palestine our paternal Apostolic Blessing.
From the Vatican, July 16, 1974
PAULUS PP .VI
*L’Osservatore Romano, 30.7.1974 p.1;
ORa n°32 p.8.