Patriarch of Jerusalem discusses conflict and Christianity in Palestine

first_imgDespite the desire for peace in Palestine, neither peace nor security has been won by the myriad of negotiations and wars of the past 70 years, Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, said.Twal delivered a lecture titled “Middle East Christians’ Future: In Whose Hands” on Tuesday at Hesburgh Center Auditorium as part of the 2015-2016 Notre Dame Forum “Faith, Freedom and the Modern World: 50 Years After Vatican II.” The talk was hosted by the Center For Civil and Human Rights, and Twal was introduced by University President Fr. John Jenkins.Twal ministers in a part of the world where Christians feel oppressed and was trained as a Christian diplomat, Jenkins said.  Twal brings a message of peace, reconciliation and charity. Twal first addressed the parlous state of the Christian minority in the Middle-East, with special attention to the situation in Palestine.The Christian population of Palestine is a small minority, Twal said, and thus it cannot function effectively in isolation. The Catholics in Palestine alone operate over 115 schools, some of which have a majority Muslim student body. “We cannot have a ghetto just for us Christians. … Our mission cannot know borders,” Twal said.He said there are many perils for the Christian community of the Levant, such as the Israeli bureaucracy’s mistreatment of Christian and many Muslims’ apathy towards the welfare of the Christian community, calling the Church of Jerusalem a Church of Calvary. In spite of all the suffering of the Christian community, it is impossible to live, love and work in Jerusalem without Jesus and the vision of the cross, Twal said.“In Jerusalem, He prayed, He worked and He wept,” Twal said.Twal said although the Christian community of Jerusalem is often subject to persecution, it is also unmistakably a church of resurrection, empowered by its proximity to where He rose.“I too am anxious for the future but [also] hope for a bright future,” Twal said, referring to the future prospects of the Christians of Palestine. Twal’s lecture also spent time on the consequences of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a conflict that fatally undermines Israel’s claims of democracy so long as the occupation continues, Twal said. “The vast majority of Palestinians are fighting for the same things Jews did,” Twal said.The rights Palestinians seek are the rights of democracies, such as dignity, respect and justice, he said. These were the same values his Patriarchate has upheld and promoted for years. While he expressed pessimism about the viability of a two-state solution, the fundamental problem is still occupation, particularly while Jerusalem is still occupied territory, Twal said. “Much is spoken [of peace], yet we have none,” Twal said. “ … In Palestine, there is no more credibility in the speech of politicians, and thus, changes requiring great sacrifice must come.”“In Palestine, one thing is clear: the cycle of degradation and violence must be broken,” he said.Twal said, the Middle-East is beset by politic without ethic and the dangerous rhetoric of extremists, lack of education, and the reckless profiteering of arms dealers are all contributing to the current disorder in the Middle-East“In Jerusalem we are closely watching the events in the Arab World…our hearts are filled with sorrow with our brothers and sisters who are victims of violence,” Twal said, “In Jordan we have 1,400,000 Syrians…last year we received 8,000 Iraqi Christian people…for sure Syria needs reform, but 200,000 [were] killed because they want to change this regime, and the regime is still in good health.”Twail said the Middle East is beset by a dark past and dark present, and he prays for the emergence of a genuine leader. Although he believes an educated population is one key step towards justice and peace, it’s clear the road to peace in the Holy Land is a long and difficult one. “[Being] fair and balanced … I’m not sure that’s possible when we speak about the Holy Land,” Twal said.Tags: Father John Jenkins, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, Middle East, Notre Dame Forum, Palestinelast_img read more

Clippers’ demise came long before playoffs started

first_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error That’s not to mention that Testi is a popular guy in the locker room. As good as Chris Paul is at being diplomatic and not speaking ill of a teammate, the future Hall of Fame point guard could not have been one bit happy with Griffin.Think about it. Could anyone imagine Paul tearing apart a team employee at a restaurant in Toronto? Exactly.Griffin had his ups and downs on the court upon his return. When he came through with a fine performance in a Game 1 win over Portland – 19 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and plenty of ferocity – one had to wonder if perhaps the Clippers could get past all of the other stuff and give Golden State some grief in the second round.The Clippers and their fans never got a chance to find out.Griffin’s fire slowly dissipated. His play in a Game 2 win and Game 3 loss was not close to what it was in Game 1. There was good reason, and it came to light on what was the worst day in Clippers history – at least on the court.It was April 23, Game 4 in Portland. Paul fractured the third metacarpal in his right hand in the third quarter, and Griffin and his quad tendon went down in the fourth. Neither played again, and that was all she wrote.As much heart as Austin Rivers showed in the series-deciding Game 6 loss on Friday in Portland after having his left eye butchered by an Al-Farouq Aminu elbow, he is no Chris Paul.Paul is this team’s leader. Without him, more than anyone else, the Clippers were not going to go far. The real problems began when Blake Griffin partially tore his left quad tendon on Dec. 25. On Jan. 23, he beat the daylights out of team assistant equipment manager Matias Testi in what was nothing less than a sign of tremendous immaturity on Griffin’s part.Rivers said, at the time, “This type of stuff shouldn’t happen, but it did and it’s real life and you have to deal with real-life stuff sometimes in our make-believe world.”What Griffin did was very real. However, there was really no way to trade him even though the trading deadline was still nearly four weeks away at the time. He was, after all, injured and didn’t even play again until April 3 because his quad tendon never did heal. The rumor mill worked overtime, though, and it had Griffin being sent packing before next season.Again, dealing with this kind of drama is not how a team goes about winning a championship. Not even close.Let’s remember that the Clippers are now owned by Steve Ballmer, a winner’s winner. To this day, it figures he’s ticked at Griffin because he gave his organization a figurative black eye by giving Testi a real one.center_img It would be easy to just say the Clippers’ season ended because Chris Paul and Blake Griffin were injured in Game 4 of their first-round 4-2 series loss to Portland. That would be ignoring other season-long issues.In revamping his bench this past summer, coach/president of basketball operations Doc Rivers brought in forward Josh Smith and swingman Lance Stephenson. Smith, who killed the Clippers in the playoffs the previous season, was shipped back to Houston in January. Stephenson was traded to Memphis for forward Jeff Green in February.Stephenson, an electric player, put up numbers for the Grizzlies similar to those he had for Indiana in his best season in 2013-14. Green showed flashes of solid play both in the 27 regular-season games he played for the Clippers and in the playoffs, but there was a disturbing level of inconsistency.It’s not a good look when your two biggest offseason acquisitions are gone before the playoffs are even near. But neither Smith nor Stephenson fit into Rivers’ way of doing things.last_img read more