Sunday, June 23, 2013

Franciscans Provide Temple Mount Precedent

Some of their propaganda from the voice-over clip at the bottom of the page is nigh anti-Semitic but the information is encouraging:

Upper Room on Mt. Zion To Open for Catholic Worship

The Cenacle, the building on Mt. Zion which houses the “Upper Room” where Jesus and his disciples held the Last Supper will once again be open for Catholic worship, it has been announced by spokesmen for the Vatican, the Israeli government and the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.  The agreement, which is part of overall negotiations over the use of land owned by the church in Israel allows for Franciscan administrative control of the site, while ownership will remain with Israel...

...The Franciscan Friars owned the site during the 14th and 15th centuries, but were expelled by the Ottoman Empire in 1550...While expressing disappointment with Israeli ownership, he said, "opening the Upper Room to Catholic worship is “good news.” 

...Negotiations between the Vatican and Israel began 20 years ago with a “Fundamental Agreement” designed to open the way to Vatican recognition of Israel. Negotiations halted for several years until the United States intervened and talks were resumed in 2004, Vasko said. The current round of talks is the first to be held in two years. In addition to the Cenacle, other key elements of the negotiations include two churches the Vatican wants to build, and tax exempt status for Catholic Churches. The recent agreement approves tax-exempt status for the churches but specifies that attached buildings such as gift shops and restaurants will be subject to Israeli sales tax.  Negotiations will continue in December, according to the joint announcement.

If the Israel government can make these generous provisions for shared use of a holy site, when do they finalize an arrangement with the Waqf so that Jews can worship on the Temple Mount?

Freedom of worship is, I would presume, a right for Jews as much as it is for Christians.



Being me, I sent this query:-

Is worship limited to Catholics or can other sects of Christianity pray, too?

and received this reply:-

Thank you for your response to our article “Upper Room on Mt. Zion To Open for Catholic Worship”.  We as Catholics are very excited that the ability to celebrate Holy Mass in the “Cenacle” or “Upper Room” is being restored  to the Franciscans even though the ownership of the Upper Room will stay in the hands of the Israelis.  The reason this is so important to us is that we believe that Jesus celebrated the first mass at the Last Supper and asked us to do so also in remembrance of Him.  It is also where the sacrament of Holy Orders (Priesthood) was established.

In response to your question, the Upper Room has been open to other forms of worship all along.  However, I am not sure if it requires any type of permission.  There are numerous YouTube videos of groups worshipping in the open spaces.

Are you an interested reader or are you affiliated with a news source? 

Many blessings.  Visit us at for much more on our work in the Holy Land.

Deborah Roberts
Media Coordinator

This was my answer:

I am an interested reader and I also blog.

I asked because I thought the arrangement being agreed upon could serve as a model for the friction between Muslims and Jews on the Temple Mount.

and I then added:

incidentally, I could not locate any other independent corroboration for the story even after searching Vatican news web sites.  has the story appeared other than where I found it?


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