Cardinal encourages Christians to visit Holy Land

 The Prefect of the Congregation for Eastern Churches, Cardinal Ignace Moussa Daoud has encouraged Catholics to visit the Holy Land. Speaking on Vatican Radio on Tuesday he echoed the words of the Patriarch of Jerusalem earlier this week, saying that visitors to the Holy Land can bring hope to the Christians living there. At the present time he said many Palestinian Christians are tempted to emigrate because of the violence and discrimination that surrounds them, and they "face the future with uncertainty." He argued that the world's Christians should come to their aid, because "we must not resign ourselves to the prospect of a Holy Land without Christians." Cardinal Moussa was asked by Vatican Radio to comment on the annual Holy Week appeal for financial help for the Church in the Holy Land. He replied that financial help was useful, but visits by Christians from other countries would be an even more powerful form of help. The Syrian cardinal said that Israeli and Palestinian authorities recognise the importance of religious tourism, which furnishes a large portion of the revenue for some towns in the Holy Land. He pointed out that "for the security of pilgrims, some guarantees have been made by the parties to the conflict."

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