The Council of Catholic Churches in Jerusalem yesterday condemned the attack by "Jewish extremists" on one its houses of worship and called on the Israeli government to do more to curtail the escalating violence against Christians in the holy land.
Wednesday's attack on St. Stephen Church in occupied Jerusalem resulted in the destruction of glass artwork and statues that depict the life of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary.
The new patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine, Giacinto-Boulos Marcuzzo, speaking to AsiaNews said that the incident "fits in with the pattern of past incidents" and was carried out by "some fanatics" whom he described as most likely being "Jewish extremists".
In addition to the "huge damage" caused by the destruction of statues and windows, there is the deep pain caused by "the fanaticism of these groups who do not want to accept diversity and the faith of others," the patriarch said.
The attack took place near a chapel dedicated to St Stephen where a group of nuns and some members of the communities of the monastic family of Bethlehem live.
The Council of Catholic Churches moved swiftly to condemn the attack by releasing the statement calling on the State of Israel to punish those who were responsible for the acts "because" they said "it could easily lead to serious and unpredictable consequences, which would be most unwelcome in the current tense religious climate."
Attacks by Jewish extremists on Christian and Muslim sites have been on the rise in recent years. Earlier this month church leaders united in their condemnation of Israel for its systematic attempt to undermine the integrity of the Holy City of Jerusalem and weaken its Christian heritage in Palestine.
They appealed to Christians, as well as the heads of governments "and all people of good will" to support them in their efforts to stop the Israeli aggression against the Palestinian Christian community.