New York Cardinal To Meet With President And Foreign Minister
Jan. 04, 1987
JERUSALEM (AP) _ In a surprise turnabout, Cardinal John O'Connor will visit President Chaim Herzog at his official residence and Foreign Minister Shimon Peres at his home in Jerusalem, government officials said Sunday.
The meeting with Herzog is scheduled for Sunday night and the meeting with Peres for Monday, said the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Vatican policy forbids Roman Catholic leaders to meet with Israeli officials in their Jerusalem offices because the Holy See does not recognize the city as Israel's capital.
Chief Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro, reached in Rome, said he did not know about the meetings and declined comment.
O'Connor, who is on a five-day visit of Israel, had caused a storm of controversy when he first scheduled meetings with Israeli officials and then was forced to cancel them because of the Vatican policy.
On Friday, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York urged Israeli leaders to meet with him outside their offices.
One of the government officials said that by agreeing to visit Herzog at his official residence, O'Connor recognized ''the principle of Israeli sovereignty'' over Jerusalem. Herzog holds a ceremonial position.
The official said Peres then agreed to drop his earlier insistence on meeting with O'Connor only at his Jerusalem office and agreed to receive the cardinal at his home.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir will not meet with the cardinal but has allowed Herzog and Peres to meet with him, the official said.
O'Connor said he met with Cabinet minister Ezer Weizman at the residence of U.S. Ambassador Thomas Pickering in Tel Aviv on Saturday.
O'Connor arrived in Israel on Thursday and leaves for Rome on Monday.
He visited Christian holy sites over the weekend and toured Islamic and Jewish shrines Sunday, including the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Wailing or Western Wall remnant of the ancient Jewish Temple.