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O’connor Says His Visit to Israel Paved Way for Changes in Relations Between the Vatican and Israel

John Cardinal O’Connor, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York, said over the weekend that his recent visit to Israel would bring about changes in relations between Israel and the Vatican. But he cautioned that they would be slow in coming.

In a Voice of Israel Radio interview from New York, O’Connor said the Vatican was moving in the right direction with respect to Israel but noted that changes in Vatican policy were historically very slow.

O’Connor’s five-day visit here earlier this month was fraught with controversy and embarrassment because the Vatican, which has no diplomatic relations with Israel, does not recognize the status of Jerusalem as its capital. As a result, O’Connor was forced to cancel meetings he had scheduled with Israeli leaders at their Jerusalem offices.

He did however, meet with President Chaim Herzog and Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres at their respective residences.