VATICAN CITY (CNS): Meeting Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Pope Benedict XVI raised questions regarding the situation of the dwindling Catholic population in the Holy Land, including in Bethlehem, the Vatican said.
The Vatican said the Pope voiced his concerns particularly in light of the approaching celebration of Christmas.
The Pope and Prime Minister met for 26 minutes on December 13 in a small meeting room in the back of the Vatican’s audience hall.
Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh told a press conference on December 11 that a serious drop in Christian tourism to his town, emigration and Israel’s erection of a security fence cutting many Bethlehem residents off from jobs in nearby Jerusalem were having a disastrous impact on Bethlehem and its residents.
The Vatican’s December 13 statement also said the Pope and Prime Minister spoke about peace in the Middle East.
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