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WASHINGTON—In a July 26 letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, 30 Jewish, Christian and Muslim religious leaders, including three Catholic bishops, voiced "strong support for his determined initiative for Israeli-Palestinian peace." In letters to the leadership of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the leaders called on Congress "to support Secretary Kerry's continuing urgent efforts for peace."
Catholic signers were Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, retired archbishop of Washington and a founding member of the National Interreligious Leadership Initiative for Peace in the Middle East; Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines, Iowa, chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on International Justice and Peace; and Bishop Denis J. Madden, auxiliary bishop of Baltimore and chairman of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
The religious leaders warmly welcomed Secretary Kerry's announcement of an agreement "that establishes the basis for resuming direct final status negotiations between the Palestinians and the Israelis." They noted the progress of earlier formal and informal negotiations, saying "while these talks have yet to yield a blueprint for peace, they have identified ideas for addressing key issues that must be resolved in a manner acceptable to both sides."
The Jewish, Christian and Muslim leaders offered their prayers for Secretary Kerry's efforts and pledged that they "are prepared through the national organizations we represent to activate members of synagogues, churches and mosques across the country to support bold American leadership for peace."
"We know the path to peace is complex and challenging," the leaders said, "but peace is possible."
The full text of the letters is available online: www.usccb.org/issues-and-action/human-life-and-dignity/global-issues/middle-east/israel-palestine/upload/letters-to-secretary-kerry-and-congress-from-nili-2013-07.pdf
Keywords: Secretary of State, John Kerry, Catholic, Muslim, Jewish, peace, Israel, Palestine, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Bishop Richard E. Pates, Bishop Denis J. Madden, U.S. bishops, USCCB, U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops
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