WSW: Kalamazoo Bishop Reflects on Pilgrimage to the Holy Land

Mar 19, 2015

An Israeli soldier votes at a military base in the settlement of Gush Etzion, West Bank, Tuesday, March 17, 2015. Israelis are voting in early parliament elections following a campaign focused on economic issues such as the high cost of living, rather than fears of a nuclear Iran or the Israeli-Arab conflict.
Credit AP Photo/Dan Balilty / The Associated Press

The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo traveled to the Middle East with 17 other U.S. Bishops last fall. Bradley will share thoughts on the "Prayer Pilgrimage for Peace to the Holy Land" on Sunday at an event sponsored by the Kalamazoo Coalition for Peace and Justice. 

The Bishop's address is titled "A Message of Hope for Palestine and Israel." He will speak Sunday afternoon at 5:00 at the First United Methodist Church on Park Street in Kalamazoo. 

Bradley told WMUK's Gordon Evans that the visit to Jerusalem made him realize how much he didn't know about the region. He says there are problems in the holy land that have existed for generations, and are likely to continue. Bradley says the hope comes from the young people who go to school and live together. He says makes the future seem brighter, but with many problems still to solve.

Bishop Paul Bradley
Credit Catholic Diocese of Kalamazoo

The Bishop sees faith as one dimension of the conflict in the Middle East. He says it's hard to separate the roles of religion, history and culture in the constant struggle. But Bradley says faith, along with reason, can lead to a solution in the Middle East. He says religious leaders of all faiths are committed to working for peace. But Bradley says they remain skeptical after many years of prayer. "It's not going to be a quick fix," Bradley says.

The statement issued by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops called for a "two-state" solution for Israel and Palestine. Bradley says that seems to be  the only path to long standing peace. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won re-election this week after saying he no longer supports a separate Palestinian state.  Bradley says that makes him less optimistic about finding peace in the Middle East.