DECLARATION BY CARD. ROGER ETCHEGARAY
Thursday 2 May 2002
The following declaration was released this morning in Jerusalem by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, the Holy Father's envoy on a special mission to the Holy Land:
"I am - simply - the envoy of Pope John Paul II whose only mission, which is spiritual, is to proclaim the Good News of Peace, Love and Mercy that was first proclaimed, after the Prophets, by Christ in this Holy Land, in this Holy City of Jerusalem.
"I come, in the name of the Gospel, to place my small stone on the building-block of peace opened on this bloodied soil. I will apply myself in solidarity with all the Christian Churches.
"I come in the name of John Paul II who resolutely never ceases to witness respect for and confidence in the two peoples, Israelis and Palestinians, both lacerated today but united by a deep aspiration to live in freedom, justice and security, to which they have a right.
"I come to ask that everything be done to end the tragic situation in Bethlehem and that the Basilica of the Nativity be returned to God and to believers. Everything can be hoped for when each man believes in the other and follows the path of love and not violence.
"I am also thinking of the political leaders of the Israelis and Palestinians. I have just been received by Moshe Katvaz, president of the State of Israel. I will be received this evening by Yasser Arafat, president of the Palestinian Authority. I pray for all those who have in their hands the destiny of these two peoples.
"Shalom, Salam, peace is only built with the stones of a true dialogue."