Vatican Official Charges Israeli Government with Hostility to Church’s Interests

A Vatican official who deals with Catholic Church interests in Palestine has loosed a blast against the Israeli Government for allegedly carrying out a policy hostile to the Church’s interests, the New York Times today reported from Rome.

The dispatch quotes a Vatican report, released yesterday, in which Franciscan Father Alberto Gori–who bears the official Church title of Custodian of the Holy Land-states that the freedom of movement of religious orders has been prevented by the Israeli Government. Father Gori asserts that the Franciscan Fathers in Galilee and Judea have been isolated since the beginning of the Palestine war and “are still” isolated.” He also charges that they have been victims of spoliation and other “base” actions, the Times reported.

An excerpt of Father Gori’s statement released, according to the Tines, by Vatican circles through an unofficial press service, said: “Despite repeated statements by the new Israeli Government that we have nothing to fear, events of the past few months leave us doubtful and diffident.

“We have been prevented from exercising our inalienable rights, our properties have been actually invaded while in other cases attempts to invade them have been made, some of our Fathers have been the target of open hostility–perhaps because they still know how to defend and protect our rights and those of the poor populations which have been entrusted to their care.

“We are, therefore, deeply chagrined and have lost all our trust in a people who, after all, should be grateful to us since we have-even in recent times-risked our lives to protect it.”

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