US bishop: Political will is lacking, but Holy Land wants peace

(CNA/EWTN News, Matt Hadro)- Christians and Muslims are coexisting peacefully in Israel and Palestine, but the political will for peace is not yet there, said the leader of a recent bishops’ pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

“It does not seem that there has been any bad, difficult or ruptured relationships between the Muslims and the Christians in the Holy Land. I don’t think that has been an ongoing issue so much,” Bishop Richard E. Pates of Des Moines told CNA. “I think at this point in time, perhaps the biggest problems are political in nature.”

Bishop Pates, who chairs the U.S. bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace, led a delegation of 18 bishops on a “prayer pilgrimage for peace” to the Holy Land from Sept.11-18. The bishops prayed with local Christian communities, as well as Jews and Muslims, and met with political leaders of Israel and Palestine.