Winfield: "The Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty finalized Wednesday, immediately sparking Israeli ire and accusations that the move hurt peace prospects."
From left, President Shimon Peres of Israel, Pope Francis and President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority in the Vatican gardens last year. (photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
Vatican Officially Recognizes Palestinian State
By Nicole Winfield, Associated Press
13 May 15
he Vatican officially recognized the state of Palestine in a new treaty finalized Wednesday, immediately sparking Israeli ire and accusations that the move hurt peace prospects.
The treaty, which concerns the activities of the Catholic Church in Palestinian territory, makes clear that the Holy See has switched its diplomatic recognition from the Palestine Liberation Organization to the state of Palestine.
The Vatican had welcomed the decision by the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 to recognize a Palestinian state. But the treaty is the first legal document negotiated between the Holy See and the Palestinian state and constitutes official diplomatic recognition.
"Yes, it's a recognition that the state exists," said the Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.
The Israeli foreign ministry said it was "disappointed" by the development.
"This move does not promote the peace process and distances the Palestinian leadership from returning to direct and bilateral negotiations," the ministry said in a text message. "Israel will study the agreement and will consider its steps accordingly."
The treaty was finalized days before Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas visits Pope Francis at the Vatican. Abbas is heading to Rome to attend Francis' canonization Sunday of two new saints from the Holy Land.
The Vatican has been referring unofficially to the state of Palestine for at least a year.
During Pope Francis' 2014 visit to the Holy Land, the Vatican's official program referred to Abbas as the president of the "state of Palestine." In the Vatican's latest yearbook, the Palestinian ambassador to the Holy See is listed as representing "Palestine (state of)."
The Vatican's foreign minister, Monsignor Antoine Camilleri, acknowledged the change in status, given that the treaty was initially inked with the PLO and is now being finalized with the "state of Palestine." But he said the shift was simply in line with the Holy See's position.
This isn't the first time that the Vatican under Francis has taken diplomatic moves knowing that it would ruffle feathers: Just last month, Francis referred to the slaughter of Armenians by Turkish Ottomans a century ago as a "genocide," prompting Turkey to recall its ambassador.
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Pope: God will judge you on whether you cared for Earth
By NICOLE WINFIELD
Associated Press May 12, 2015
NICOLE WINFIELD The_Associated_Press
Pope Francis walks in procession as he arrives to celebrate a Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on the occasion on the opening of the Caritas Internationalis General Assembly, Tuesday. During his homily, Francis warned that God will judge the powerful on how well they cared for the environment.
ALESSANDRA TARANTINO — AP
VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis warned the rich and powerful on Tuesday that God will judge them on whether they fed the poor and cared for the Earth, his latest exhortation on the environment ahead of his eagerly awaited encyclical on climate change and its effects on the world’s most vulnerable.
Francis delivered the warning during a Mass for the Vatican’s Caritas Internationalis charity.
In his homily, Francis said the planet has enough food to feed the world but “it seems that there is a lack of willingness to share it with everyone.”
“We must do what we can so that everyone has something to eat. But we must also remind the powerful of the Earth that God will call them to judgment one day,” he said. “And there it will be revealed if they really tried to provide for him in every person, and if they did what they could to preserve the environment so that it could produce this food.”
No papal document in recent times has produced as much anticipation or anxiety as Francis’ encyclical, which is expected next month. Environmentalists are thrilled that Francis is lending his moral authority to provide an ethical foundation for action to stem climate change. Conservatives, including many Christians, have criticized Francis for wading into the politically charged climate debate.
On Tuesday, one of Francis’ key advisers, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, said he was stunned by the complaints he had heard during a trip to the United States over a papal document that hasn’t even been published yet. He accused those fueling it of an ideology “that is very strongly linked to a vision of capitalism that doesn’t want to renounce damaging the environment for the sake of profits.”
Francis has said global warming is “mostly” man-made and that humanity has a moral duty to stop it.
Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2015/05/12/3788694_pope-god-will-judge-you-on-whether.html?rh=1#storylink=cpy
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