Better late than never, I suppose, but the Christian exodus has been going on for many years, and has seldom if ever before been noted in the Vatican, even as Vatican officials relentlessly pursued “dialogue” with Muslims who were not truly interested in meeting as equals. From the Jerusalem Post, with thanks to Ruth King:
Increasing Christian emigration from the Holy Land in general and Bethlehem in particular is troubling to the Vatican, Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews said in Jerusalem on Thursday.
Kasper was speaking to reporters in the course of a visit with President Moshe Katsav to whom he conveyed the greetings of Pope John Paul II, saying: “Jewish-Christian relations are very close to his heart.”
Kasper also reminded Katsav that all forms of anti-Semitism and violations of human rights had been condemned by the Second Vatican Council. …
On the issue of Christian emigration from Bethlehem and the gradual Muslim takeover, Kasper acknowledged that the Church is worried, particularly because Christians have lived in the Holy Land throughout the centuries and have made important contributions to cultural developments. Christians have also come on pilgrimage for centuries he noted, stating: “We don’t want dead stones; we want living communities.”
Even if Bethlehem’s Christian community continues to diminish he said, the Church is determined to remain.
If that is so, some support for Eastern Christians against the ongoing jihad, and some efforts to undo the dhimmi attitudes that still prevail there (and often seem to have been encouraged by the authorities) would be welcome.