Ramallah (Agenzia Fides) - A few days after the end of his mission at the head of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, emeritus Patriarch Fouad Twal was honoured by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas with the "Medal of Jerusalem". The conferment, which took place on Tuesday, July 12 in Ramallah, in the Palestinian presidential headquarters, was also attended by representatives of the presidential staff, including Dr. Majdi Khaldi, adviser of President Abu Mazen for relations with the Churches and Christian communities. The Medal - explain Palestinian sources - was awarded as a sign of gratitude "for spiritual guidance exercised by the Patriarch and for the outstanding service he has offered to the Palestinian people and the Catholic Church in Palestine".
On June 24 Pope Francis welcomed the resignation of Patriarch Twal for age limit and is succeeded by Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa OFM. In an interview published on the website of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, Patriarch Twal focused on the legacy that he leaves in the hands of the new apostolic Administrator, noting that one of Father Pizzaballa’s strong points "is the fact of having served as Custos of the Holy Land for 12 years and of having been the Vicar of the Latin Patriarch for the Christian community of Hebrew language", but these positive elements are to be added to "the problem of the Arabic language, the Eastern mentality and all the pastoral activities (...).
It will certainly be easier for him to remedy the weaknesses of the administration", said Patriarch Twal "than manage the pastoral care of the faithful Arabs. But it is also true that foreign faithful of the Latin Patriarchate now outnumber local Arab Christians". (GV) (Agenzia Fides 13/07/2016).