December 22, 2011
VIA EMAIL ONLY
His Beatitude Fouad Twal
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
As we prepare to celebrate Christmas, the great Feast of the Incarnation of our God into human history, our thoughts turn to Bethlehem as did the shepherds and wise men of two millennia ago. A vulnerable Child was born in a stable, a Child whose death was sought by King Herod. In a special way, the Christ Child symbolizes the vulnerable community of today that bears His Name.
Our Conference of Bishops is acutely aware that the Churches of the Middle East are caught in situations of conflict and violence that have put enormous strains on the ancient Christian presence there. As you have frequently affirmed, the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict needs a two-state solution: a recognized and secure Israel living alongside a viable and independent Palestinian state. We are also mindful of the suffering of the Church in Iraq where Christians are disproportionately represented among refugees, persons displaced from their homes, as well as victims of violence. We are anxious too for Christians who are being threatened in Egypt and other countries of the region and our world.
Please be assured as the Church in the United States celebrates the birth of Emmanuel, God with us, that we are with you. Our prayerful solidarity extends to all persecuted persons throughout the world, but in a particular way to our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering in the region of our Savior’s birth.
With hope born of faith as we approach the Christmas Season,
Fraternally in Christ,
Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Most Reverend Richard E. Pates
Bishop of Des Moines
Chairman, International Justice and Peace
Response from His Beatitude Fouad Twal to Archbishop Dolan and Bishop Pates His Beatitude Fouad Twal, December 23, 2011