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Synod submits 44 propositions to Pontiff

October 25, 2010

The deliberations of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East concluded on Saturday, October 23, with the approval of 44 propositions that will be presented to Pope Benedict XVI.

These 44 propositions will be the basis for an apostolic exhortation in which the Pope summarizes the work of the Synod. At the Pontiff’s request, the full list of propositions was made public.

The propositions put forward by the Synod fathers naturally reflect the Synod’s final message. Among the noteworthy specific points added to that message, the Synod approved propositions that said:

  • "The attention of the whole world should be focused on the tragic situation of certain Christian communities in the Middle East which suffer all manner of trials sometimes even to the point of martyrdom.”
  • Important Vatican statements should be translated into Arabic “so that Christians of Arab culture have access to information from the Holy See in their mother tongue.”
  • The traditions of the Eastern Catholic churches should be respected and preserved, and the “it would be desirable to study the possibility of having married priests outside the patriarchal territory."
  • In the interests of ecumenism, a common date should be set for celebrating Easter and Christmas.
  • The Church should provide proper preparation for marriage, and encourage young couples to welcome children.
  • Reading of the Old Testament is a good way to acquire proper understanding of Judaism and encourage better relations between Christians and Jews.
  • ”We reject anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism, while distinguishing between religion and politics.”
  • Christians and Muslims should join in “combating every sort of fundamentalism and violence in the name of religion.”

At the final working meeting, the Synod fathers also elected a council of 11 prelates to monitor the implementation of the Synod’s recommendations. The council includes three patriarchs from the Middle East and two cardinals from the Vatican; 8 are bishops of Eastern-rite Catholic churches. The members are:

  1. Coptic Catholic Patriarch Antonios Naguib of Alexandria, Egypt;
  2. Retired Latin-rite Patriarch Michel Sabbah of Jerusalem;
  3. Syrian Catholic Patriarch Ignace Youssif III Younan of Antioch, Lebanon;
  4. Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches
  5. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue;
  6. Melkite Catholic Archbishop Cyrille Salim Bustros of the Eparchy of Newton, Massachusetts;
  7. Armenian Catholic Archbishop Boutros Marayati of Aleppo, Syria;
  8. Maronite Catholic Archbishop Joseph Soueif of Cyprus;
  9. Chaldean Catholic Bishop Antoine Audo SJ of Aleppo, Syria;
  10. Maronite Catholic Bishop Bechara Rai O.M.M. of Jbeil, , Lebanon; and
  11. Chaldean Catholic Bishop Shlemon Warduni, an auxiliary of Babylonia, Iraq


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