President of Catholic Bishops Conference Joins Other U.S. Church Leaders in Expressing Strong Concern Over Israel’s Plan to Tax Church-owned Real Estate

March 13, 2018 By Public Affairs Office
WASHINGTON—Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston,President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), joins otherleaders from the U.S. Episcopal, Lutheran (ELCA), and Armenian Churches in urgingIsrael to not confiscate church lands or tax church properties. In the jointletter addressed to Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and JerusalemMayor, Nir Barkat, the Church leaders express deep concern that the measurewould "…jeopardize the very survival of the Christian community in the HolyLand." A second letter has been sent by the US signatories to all the heads of churchesin the Holy Land pledging to continue to press the Israeli government on theirbehalf.

The full statement to the Prime Minister and the Mayor of Jerusalemfollows:

"As heads of churches and communions in the UnitedStates, we write to express our strong concern about recent legal proposals andtax plans that would severely inhibit the work of the churches in and aroundJerusalem. If enacted, these measures would have the effect of creating asituation that jeopardizes the very survival of the Christian community in theHoly Land.

We have expressed to the Patriarchs and Heads ofChurches in Jerusalem, in the enclosed letter, our firm solidarity with themduring this crisis, including by strong advocacy before our owngovernment.

We know of the myriad of activities in which thechurches there are engaged, such as education, health care and pilgrimages, andwe recognize that they are integral to the churches' mission and of majorbenefit to the Jerusalem community beyond the churches.

We ask that you end measures that disrupt the StatusQuo. We have pledged to the church leaders in Jerusalem our unwavering supportfor all peaceful and lawful measures they may pursue to ensure the preservationand flourishing of the Christian community now and in the future."

Thefull letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu and Mayor Nir Barkat can be found at:
http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/upload/Letter-of-concern-about-recent-legal-proposals-and-tax-plans-affecting-churches-13-March-2018.pdf

Thefull letter to the Heads of Churches in Jerusalem can be found at:
http://www.usccb.org/beliefs-and-teachings/ecumenical-and-interreligious/upload/Letter-to-heads-of-churches-at-the-Holy-Sepulchre-13-March-2018.pdf

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Keywords: U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, USCCB, Cardinal Daniel N.DiNardo, Episcopal, Lutheran (ELCA), Armenian, Israel, Jerusalem, ChristianCommunity, Holy Land, taxes, Status Quo, church leaders, Christian community

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