Rome

Holy Land bishops send pope letter of gratitude

Conveys thanks from peoples of all faiths in four countries

Holy Land bishops send pope letter of gratitude

Rome, February 18 - Catholic leaders from the Holy Land - Israel, Palestine and Jordan - have sent a collective letter to the pope following the announcement of his resignation. "The Holy Land Catholics bow before your decision to give up your ministry as Bishop of Rome and successor of Saint Peter the Apostle, which you took by abandoning yourself to God's will in total freedom," the letter begins. "We assure you of our prayers and our support in this step". The missive conveys "the gratitude of the inhabitants of Israel, Palestine, Jordan and Cyprus, that of all the faithful who live here: Jews, Christians, Muslims and Druze, and especially that of all the Christians, be they Orthodox, Anglican, or Protestant, and especially those of our dioceses, who carry you in their hearts". "You invited us to walk fearlessly in freedom and truth on the way through the narrow door, which leads to a culture of peace that is built with real gestures of mutual forgiveness and reconciliation of the hearts," it reads. "Holy Father, it will be difficult for us to forget your authentic faith, your 'feeling cum Ecclesia', your sense of duty, which you carried out with loyalty and dedication, you example of intellectual honesty and your great simplicity and profound humility".

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