O’connor: Would Go to Israel Only with Vatican Approval

John Cardinal O’Connor said Sunday that he would go to Israel only with Vatican approval. The Archbishop of New York made his comments in a televised interview on WNBCTV’s “News Forum” in response to host Gabe Pressman’s questions on his recent remarks that a Palestinian homeland needs to be established.

These opinions, put forth upon his return from Lebanon, evoked a critical response from the Jewish community, which had become used to his support for the Jewish people and Israel.

In published statements, and in an interview with Rabbi Marc Tanenbaum, director of international relations of the American Jewish Committee, O’Connor drew up a list of “pre-conditions” for Vatican recognition of Israel, including that “Israel should ‘assist substantially’ in finding “a Palestinian homeland’”; that “Israel should help achieve peace in Lebanon”; and that “Israel should help bring about the security of some eight million Christians in Arab countries.” (See July 17 News Bulletin.)

In Sunday’s TV program, O’Connor said that his busy schedule in New York needed to be considered, and that a formal invitation from Israel was necessary to consider a trip to the Jewish State. But he added that he also needed to get approval from Rome for such a trip. “I regret that the schedule in New York is such as it is. I have a schedule to consider. I would go anywhere I’m invited if I thought it could help, and I could get concurrence from the Holy See,” was O’Connor’s response to Pressman’s queries.

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