The cardinal, who is the grand master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulcher of Jerusalem, expressed his interest in the talks in a latter sent Sept. 7 to the 26,000 members of the order. In the text he urged the members to pray for peace.
"While the prospects for successful negotiations do not look very promising, the very fact that such talks are under way is encouraging," he said.
He continued: "All in the Middle East would profit from a just and lasting peace between Israel and Palestine -- but our fellow Christians there would probably profit more than most, since more of them could remain in the land made sacred by the life, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, whose followers their ancestors became almost two thousand years ago and to whom they have remained loyal at great personal cost.
"Thus, in these days which will be marked also in Rome by a Synod of Bishops on the Middle East, I would ask all of our Knights and Ladies and indeed their families and friends to remember in their daily prayers the intentions of peace in the Middle East, especially in the Holy Land, the success of the negotiations currently in progress for peace between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and the spiritual fruitfulness of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East."
The Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops will take place Oct. 10-24 in Rome.