. HOLY SEPULCHRE PLAN
THE building of a great new Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, which would contain seven separate churches with free access for all to the Tomb of Our Lord, is proposed in a report published in Vatican City on Sunday.
Under study for ten years, the scheme is offered as a suggestion to " men of goodwill " by the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land.
But it expresses the belief that a compromise could be reached to make it possible for all to render greater homage at the shrine. It reaffirms the Catholic claim to a preeminent position in the sanctuary.
The project calls for a new basilica more than twice the size of the present one. A new rotu -Ida would be built to shelter the Tomb, which itself would be placed in a new shrine. A new Temple of Calvary would also be built, as well as a new Chapel of Elena.
At present, these three major shrines and others in the Basilica of the Holy Sepulchre are closed in by buildings, ehapels and convents built by the various communities who have property rights there.
The history of the Sepulchre has been marked by rivalry for positions as close as possible to the Tomb and for the right to administer other Holy Places
• Under the Custody's scheme, the " common property " rights to the Holy Places would be respected. But the shrines would be made more accessible while convents, chapels and churches would be moved back to create a large " Holy Garden."
The biggest difficulty anticipated for the scheme is that while property rights will be respected by a careful allocation of area in the new basilica, communities will have to give up some of the places they now hold and yield them to others or let them become " common property."
The new basilica would include three large separate churches for