I find this story to be quite troubling on a number of levels.
THE Vatican is hoping to regain control of the Room of the Last Supper in Jerusalem, one of the most sacred sites in Christianity.
It will, in exchange, hand over to the Jewish community the historic synagogue at Toledo in Spain, at present a Catholic church.
The proposals, contained in a draft agreement between the Israeli Government and the Vatican, come on the eve of a state visit to the Vatican next month by President Katzav. 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.”
Believe it or not I think that there is much to be gained in building stronger interfaith relations and think that this should be a priority. However it should be conducted in a manner in which the sides are seen as equals.
I have a little problem with the idea of being offered property that was stolen from Jews, especially if it is phrased as being part of some magnanimous gesture. Because what this says to me is that the church acknowledges that this is not their property but is only willing to give it back if they get something in return.
Call me crazy, but if this were a fight between children I would instruct the child that took the toy to give it back without demanding something in return.
I’ll keep an eye on this because I am interested in seeing how it all shakes out. For those who are curious here is a little more information about the room in discussion.
“The Upper Room, where the Last Supper is said to have taken place, is held by Christians to be the place where Jesus broke bread and drank wine with the disciples on the eve of his Crucifixion and also where the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples at Pentecost.
The Last Supper has become an iconic Christian image, painted most famously by Leonardo. The Room of the Last Supper is the fourth most holy place in Christendom after the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, built over Christâ€™s tomb, the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, where the Virgin Mary was told by an angel she was to give birth, and the Basilica of the Nativity in Bethlehem, where the birth took place.
The present Gothic-arched room is not the original but was built by the Crusaders in the 14th century. It was taken over in 1342 by the Franciscans, the Catholic custodians of Christian sites in the Holy Land.
Along with the rest of Jerusalem, it fell to the Ottoman Turks in the 16th century and was transformed into a mosque, whose Arabic inscriptions are still visible. Since the foundation of Israel the area has served as the site of Jewish yeshivas, or religious schools, since Jews believe that the Tomb of King David lies beneath the spot.”
Hat Tip to the slumbering Bear.