Vatican City (AsiaNews) - "Peace is possible. Peace is urgent. Peace is the precondition for a life worthy of human beings and society. " Even in the Middle East. Benedict XVI addressed this hope, warning and invitation to the people, the States and the international community at the conclusion of special Assembly of the Synod which spoke a lot of peace, even with strong words.
But peace, said the Pope in St Peter's Basilica this morning concluding two weeks of work, is a gift from God, but also the result of human action. Hence Benedict XVI has called all to a series of commitments: communion between Catholics, other Christians and dialogue with Muslims, respect for religious freedom and renewed evangelization in the land where Jesus lived and died. The theme of announcing the Gospel, is one that is particularly felt by Benedict XVI who, marking World Mission Sunday, announced that it will be the focus of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, scheduled for 2012. The bishops from around the world will devote themselves to "Nova evangelizatio christianam fidem tradendam - The new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith."
During the Angelus the Pope pointed out the "similarity between the themes of these two ecclesial events” the Synod and Mission Sunday, to an estimated 80 thousand people in St Peter’s Square. "Both of them - he said – are an invitation to look to the Church as a mystery of communion which, by its nature, is intended for all man and all men."
The Basilica was packed with faithful and full of color, this morning with 246 celebrants for the conclusion of the special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops on the theme: "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and testimony:" The multitude of those who had become believers were of one heart and one soul". (Acts 4:32).
The Pope’s began by evoking the prayer for communion among the different churches who live in the region. "A challenge" stated Benedict XVI. “A fuller communion within the Catholic Church favors ecumenical dialogue with other Churches and ecclesial communities as well. The Catholic Church reiterated in this Synodal meeting its deep conviction to pursuing such dialogue as well, so that the prayer of the Lord Jesus might be completely fulfilled: “May they all be one”(Jn 17:21). "
The words of the Lord Jesus - continues the pope - may be applied to Christians in the Middle East: “There is no need to be afraid, little flock, for it has pleased your Father to give you the kingdom” (Lk 12:32). Indeed, even if they are few, they are bearers of the Good News of the love of God for man, love which revealed itself in the Holy Land in the person of Jesus Christ. This Word of salvation, strengthened with the grace of the Sacraments, resounds with particular potency in the places in which, by Divine Providence, it was written, and it is the only Word which is able to break that vicious circle of vengeance, hate, and violence. From a purified heart, in peace with God and neighbor, may intentions and initiatives for peace at local, national, and international levels be born. In these actions, to whose accomplishment the whole international community is called, Christians as full-fledged citizens can and must do their part with the spirit of the Beatitudes, becoming builders of peace and apostles of reconciliation to the benefit of all society.
"Conflicts, wars, violence and terrorism have gone on for too long in the Middle East - says Benedict XVI - Peace, which is a gift of God, is also the result of the efforts of men of goodwill, of the national and international institutions, in particular of the states most involved in the search for a solution to conflicts. We must never resign ourselves to the absence of peace. Peace is possible. Peace is urgent. Peace is the indispensable condition for a life of dignity for human beings and society. Peace is also the best remedy to avoid emigration from the Middle East. “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem” we are told in the Psalm (122:6). We pray for peace in the Holy Land. We pray for peace in the Middle East, undertaking to try to ensure that this gift of God to men of goodwill should spread through the whole world.
"Another contribution that Christians can bring to society is the promotion of an authentic freedom of religion and conscience, one of the fundamental human rights that each state should always respect. In numerous countries of the Middle East there exists freedom of belief, while the space given to the freedom to practice religion is often quite limited. Increasing this space of freedom becomes essential to guarantee to all the members of the various religious communities the true freedom to live and profess their faith. This topic could become the subject of dialogue between Christians and Muslims, a dialogue whose urgency and usefulness was reiterated by the Synodal Fathers”.
“During the work of the Synod what was often underlined was the need to offer the Gospel anew to people who do not know it very well or who have even moved away from the Church. What was often evoked was the need for a new evangelization for the Middle East as well. This was quite a widespread theme, especially in the countries where Christianity has ancient roots. The recent creation of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization also responds to this profound need. For this reason, after having consulted the episcopacy of the whole world and after having listened to the Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, I have decided to dedicate the next Ordinary General Assembly, in 2012, to the following theme: “Nova evangelizatio ad christianam fidem tradendam - The new evangelization for the transmission of the Christian faith".
"The missionary task – he said during the Angelus – is not to revolutionize the world, but transfigure it, drawing strength from Jesus Christ who" brings us together at the table of His Word and the Eucharist, to enjoy the gift of his presence, form ourselves in his school and live more consciously united in Him, Lord and Master "