Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Key issues for Middle East Synod: religious freedom, Jerusalem, enduring Christian presence

Catholic World News - October 06, 2010

The Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, which opens in Rome next week, will focus not on the region’s political problems but on the need for an active and apostolic Christian presence, according to a priest who has been named by Pope Benedict as an “expert” to participate in the October sessions.

Father Samir Khalil Samir, who comments regularly on Middle East affairs for the AsiaNews service, explained to AsiaNews that the vigor of the Christian churches is an essential component of any program for peace and welfare in the region. He stressed the need for religious freedom for Christians, and the need to persuade young Christians to remain active in public affairs. “The Synod must spell this out clearly,” he said: “Do not be afraid, stay in the Middle East, but remain to proclaim the beauty of the Gospel.”

Father Samir noted that some of the latest reasons for tension in the Middle East can be attributed to a conflict between Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims, with the Hezbollah movement as its focus. Regarding the Israel-Palestinian problem, he observed that the best tactic might be to work with other Arab countries to encourage Palestinian negotiators to end a stalemate. He said:

If we really want peace, then we should at least put some principles on paper and then put them into practice: two states with clear borders. Unfortunately, Israel has never accepted the border issue, while on the Palestinian side there are still those who reject the very existence of Israel.

Archbishop Fouad Twal, the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, told Vatican Radio that Pope Benedict decided to convene a Synod on the Middle East last year. He said that “the idea of the Synod came out just after the visit of His Holiness to the Holy Land when he saw so many problems that we have." Citing the need for concerted action among the many Christian bodies in the region—including the several Eastern Catholic churches with a strong presence in the Holy Land—the Patriarch said that the vigor of the Church and the status of Jerusalem would be crucial issues for the Synod. Regarding the political conflicts in the region, he said: “Jerusalem is the key for more peace or the key for more problems.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($27,707 to go):
$150,000.00 $122,292.96
18% 82%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

There are no comments yet for this item.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Another side of Francis: US-Cuba role shows Pope's diplomatic muscle 13 hours ago
Silly season: a Christmas approaches, a scholar questions whether Jesus ever existed 14 hours ago
The intrinsic immorality of torture: still not convinced? 19 hours ago
The Complexity of Reforming Religious Communities December 17
Speaking Softly to Women Religious December 16

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - December 17