18 March 2018
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The Church's Synod for Peace and Justice in the Middle East

The Synod to support the Churches of the Middle East and the universal mission, Pope says
Benedict XVI presides over the Special Assembly, which opened today. Communion and witness by Christians must be reinforced by strengthening ties between Christian Churches and the dialogue with Jews and Muslims. However, the region’s Christians must be able to live “with dignity in their homeland” with religious freedom, peace and justice. Everyone must contribute, the international community; religions, so that they can reject violence; and the Universal Church, so that the faithful can “feel the joy of living in the Holy Land.”

Synod priorities: Christians must remain in the Middle East, with a mission
With only a few days to go until the assembly of bishops from the Middle East, the region is dominated by tensions between Sunnis and Shiites; stalemate between Israelis and Palestinians, persecution especially in Egypt. The Synod will also be able to make proposals for politics. But most of all it must reawaken the duty and mission of Christians in the Middle East: the freedom and right to offer witness to God's love in front of Jews and Muslims.

Indian Catholics fast for the synod and religious freedom in Saudi Arabia
Fr George Joshua, an Indian priest, leads the activity. He is an important figure in the struggle for the religious freedom of Indian Catholics living in Saudi Arabia. He tells AsiaNews about the suffering and abuses inflicted upon on the million Christians living in the Muslim country, where every religion other than Islam, is banned.

Synod for the Middle East: fasting and prayer in Kirkuk
Promoted by the archbishop of Kirkuk, the initiative will involve all the faithful of the archdiocese until the eve of the Synod Assembly to be held in Rome October 10 to 24.

Persian Gulf, look East to where the church is growing
While the Middle East witnesses the exodus of Christians on the Arabian Peninsula, the number of followers of Jesus never stops growing. Mondo e Missione, the PIME monthly magazine on World Mission, devotes a lengthy report to this fragile yet vibrant Church.

Indian Catholics involved in the Synod of the Middle East
As immigrants in the Middle East, Indian Catholics bear witness to their faith and to the Islamic-Christian dialogue in the Muslim world. In India, interfaith dialogue has to deal with the challenge of fundamentalism. Fr Anbu A., a Verbite missionary and Islam expert, talks to AsiaNews about the meaning of the synod for Indian Christians.

Pope: peace in the Middle East grows out of respect for human rights and religious freedom
Receiving the assembly of Roaco, Benedict XVI renewed his appeal to the leaders of nations to fight all forms of discrimination "in a concrete way". Christians in the region must seek, despite violence and difficulties, to remain "where they are born."

Archbishop of Smyrna: The martyrdom of bishop Padovese we want the truth and not "pious lies"
Archbishop Ruggero Franceschini is in Italy to attend the funeral of Msgr. Luigi Padovese in Milan. He confirms the death by Islamic ritual of the Vicar of Anatolia. He also confirms the sanity of the assassin, he has known him for a long time. A murder planned and studied in detail by subversive groups, who want to keep Turkey from Europe. The plea for help of the universal Church and Rome.

Pope: Synod of the Middle East making politicians aware
Retracing the steps of his trip to Cyprus, Benedict XVI says that the visit went well because it achieved its objectives: to strengthen the Catholic community, take another step in the rapprochement with the Orthodox and deliver the Instrumentum laboris to the bishops of the Middle East.

Fr. Samir: Christians together, the small flock and hope in the Middle East
A masterful commentary of the Instrumentum Laboris made public by Benedict XVI in Cyprus. The urgent issues for Christians in the Middle East (survival, emigration, immigrant Asian Christians, religious freedom): unity with orthodox witness in the Jewish and the Islamic worlds, shaping contemporary society in modernity and peace.

Pope: Synod to reinforce solidarity among Christians of the Middle East
Benedict XVI delivers the Instrumentum Laboris to the synodal assembly. Memory of Msgr. Padovese. The international community must work to end conflicts in the region, rather than "lead to an increased shedding of blood." For Christians, artisans of reconciliation, both recognized the freedom of religion.

Mgr Sabbah looks at the “martyrdom” of Christians caught between East and West
The Patriarch Emeritus of Jerusalem talks about the future of the region’s Christians ahead of the Synod of Bishops of the Middle East. He urges the faithful “not to flee history”. Christians’ problems date back to the First World War and the confrontation of East and West. Mgr Sabbah calls on the Muslim world to take real steps towards dialogue and coexistence.

Synod for the Middle East to strengthen the Christian identity and promote ecumenism
Benedict XVI will deliver the Instrumentum Laboris to pastors of churches in the Middle East during his next trip to Cyprus. This was announced by the secretariat of the synod as a " valuable opportunity to also examine the religious and social situation, to give Christians a clear vision of how to be active witnesses of Christ in the context of a Muslim-majority society” .

Synod for the Middle East:proclaim the Gospel in Muslim countries
The Instrumentum laboris in preparation calls for the same freedoms for Christians that Muslims enjoy in announcing Islam. Vatican proposal of "two peoples, two states” for Israel and Palestine. Response also from the Jewish world. Three cardinals among presidents.

Churches of the Middle East: witnesses of Jesus in a world with more shadows than lights
The working document of the Synod for the Middle East outlines the situation of Christians in the region and their future prospects. Life in Muslim countries as non-citizens, and while political Islam is growing. The need for ecumenical dialogue. The difficulties of Christians living in Arab countries and relations with the Jewish world.

Synod of Middle East Churches: mission and a return to dialogue
According to the Archbishop of Kirkuk (Iraq), one of the main driving forces behind the Synod, to save the Christian presence in the Muslim Middle East, a renewal of the identity of the original Church is needed: not as a cultural and "ethnic" group, but a mature adhesion to the faith. We need more unity among Christians, divided into countless groups and traditions. And a mature dialogue with Islamic communities, showing them the important contribution of Christians in the past and present history of Arab culture.

Editor's choices

Syrian Trappist nuns say Western powers and factional media fuel war propaganda

In a written appeal, the religious systematically take apart the version of the conflict touted by governments, NGOs and international news organizations. In Ghouta east, jihadists attack the capital and use civilians as human shields. The Syrian government and people have a duty to defend themselves from external attacks. The conflict alone has undermined the coexistence between Christians and Muslims in the country.

Xinjiang, crosses, domes, statues destroyed: the new 'Sinicized' Cultural Revolution

Bernardo Cervellera

Crosses removed from the domes and the tympanum of Yining Church as well as external decorations and crosses, and the Way of the Cross within the church. The same happened at the churches of Manas and Hutubi. The Cross represents "a foreign religious infiltration ". Prayer services forbidden even in private houses under the threat of arrests and re-education. Children and young people forbidden to enter churches. Religious revival frightens the Party.


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