Denouce religion fomenting violence, papal envoy urges UN

(Photo: © Peter Kenny / Ecumenical News)Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, who heads the Holy See delegation to the United Nations in Geneva, at a UN event on June 15, 2015.

Attaining a real peace for Israel and Palestine needs the denunciation of the ever perversion of religion to foment violence in the region says the Vatican representative at the United Nations in Geneva.

Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, who heads the Holy See delegation to the United Nations in Geneva spoke June 29 at an international conference in support of Israeli-Palestinian Peace.

"The Holy See believes that the peace process between Israelis and Palestinians can move forward only if it is directly negotiated between the Parties," Archbishop Jurkovič said referring to the two entities involved.

He asserted that the Vatican "reiterates its appeal to all religious leaders to denounce and reject every spurious form and perversion of religion to foment violence, and to hold on to the conviction that peace is not only possible and desirable, but is our common call and duty."

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Jurkovič assured the Holy See's support for a "two-State solution," for Israel and Palestine citing affirmations of Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

"As a cradle of great civilizations and the birthplace of the three main monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, the Middle East is fit to foster the involvement of civil society and track diplomacy in peacemaking and peacebuilding," the archbishop said.

He argued that this should come with the strong support of the international community.

Jurkovič, a Slovenia cleric, re-affirmed the Holy See's support for a "two-State solution," citing affirmations of Benedict XVI and Pope Francis.

The papal envoy said, "the Holy See also believes that the whole peace process does not depend solely on formal negotiations, no matter how indispensable these are."

He said, "Peace cannot be achieved if healing and reconciliation, mutual recognition and respect at the personal and communitarian levels do not accompany political solutions."

The papal envoy to the U.N. pinpointed the importance of religions and believers in the peace process in the region.

"They must put an end to mutual hatred that is lending credence to a 'clash of civilizations'."

The Catholic Church, he said, "reiterates its appeal to all religious leaders to denounce and reject every spurious form and perversion of religion to foment violence, and to hold on to the conviction that peace is not only possible and desirable, but is our common call and duty."

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