Holy Land Violence Strains Catholic Population  (17 July 2006)


 ZENIT News Agency, The World Seen from Rome 

Holy Land Violence Strains Catholic Population

JERUSALEM, JULY 17, 2006 (Zenit.org).- The Custos of the Holy Land says that residents are both worried and incredulous over the clash between Israel and Lebanon.

Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, Franciscan custos of the Holy Land, is concerned about the safety of the local Catholic community and of pilgrims.

"Absolute security -- I must be sincere -- does not exist; however, I believe that pilgrims are almost completely out of danger," he explained on Vatican Radio.

"I do not believe Nazareth is a target of the Lebanese guerrillas, because it is inhabited by Arabs. Instead, I think that Hezbollah will hit especially areas inhabited by Israelis and not by Arabs," he added.

The local community lives the situation hour by hour "with great concern, as do all, of course," he said.

"We still cannot believe that the situation is degenerating so rapidly and in such a negative way. But we trust! Possibilities still exists that it will stop and that good sense will prevail. But for the time being we are witnessing an unlimited explosive violence."

"The civilian population, especially in the north, seems to be somewhat resigned, frightened and incredulous," he said. "The population is divided between those who think the end of the confrontations is close and those instead who are very worried and are preparing for the worst."


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