Vatican Seeks Pieces of Jerusalem
Israeli President Moshe Katsav, currently on a visit to Italy, is to meet with Pope Benedict xvi tomorrow in what will be the first official visit by an Israeli head of state to the Vatican.
Christian publications in Italy and around the world—including the official Vatican newspaper El Messagero—are reporting that an agreement is to be signed on this visit that would transfer sovereignty of parts of Jerusalem’s Mount Zion to the Vatican. Specifically, as IsraelNationalNews.com reported last month, the proposed contract would give the Roman Catholic Church control over what it claims is the location of the Last Supper (a room actually built by the Crusaders in the 14th century)—one of the most sacred sites in Catholicism—in exchange for an ancient synagogue in Spain that has since been converted into a church. Currently, a Jewish Yeshiva (religious school) is located on the site, which Jews believe King David’s tomb lies beneath.
Such an agreement, if and when signed, would conclude negotiations that have been going on between Israel and the Vatican since 1998. For seven years, the Catholic Church has been trying to gain ownership over various sites and buildings in Israel that it claims it used to control.
“Final details on a long-delayed accord on the status of Roman Catholic properties in the Holy Land are expected to be agreed during the visit, marking a new era of reconciliation between Christians and Jews after centuries of hostility,” reported the Times of London (October 14).
Although the Foreign Ministry is denying that Israel is prepared to relinquish David’s Tomb, it has confirmed that it has received a blueprint of the proposed agreement from the Vatican. The president of the Vatican’s Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, although indicating he would welcome such an agreement, acknowledged “there is no agreement till now.”
It appears Israel is dragging its feet. The Vatican, no doubt getting antsy after several years of negotiations, may be attempting to pressure Israel by publicizing the possibility of such an agreement.
Whether this particular agreement ever gets signed or not, the Catholic Church certainly has an intense interest in Jerusalem, which it regards as its universal headquarters. The Vatican has even stated that Jerusalem should be an “international city”—which would open the way for papal control over much more than just parts of Mount Zion. One thing is certain: The Vatican isn’t about to give up its designs on Jerusalem.
The Vatican and Israel established diplomatic relations in 1993. Since then, the Vatican has made agreements with both Jews and Arabs to protect what it regards as its holy sites.
Today’s tactics—negotiation and diplomacy—contrast with those of centuries past, when the Roman Catholic Church sought to obtain real estate in Jerusalem by means of the Crusades. Jerusalem was of such importance to the Catholics that they repeatedly fought Muslims and Jews to gain possession.
But current methods will get the Vatican only so far.
Using biblical prophecy as his guide, Gerald Flurry stated in his booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy, “The Vatican and Germany … have conquered Jerusalem several times before. And they are destined to do so one last time!” Read this booklet yourself for the biblical proof of this assertion.
Jerusalem is a holy city to Jews, Muslims and Christians—but the time will soon come when it will bring disaster to all three religions: “And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it” (Zechariah 12:3).
But, as Mr. Flurry wrote, “Because of its past and future, Christ has more interest in that city than in any other city on Earth. Christ died in Jerusalem. He and His Father are going to rule the Earth and the universe from there!”