09/19/2009, 00.00
VATICAN- MIDDLE EAST
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Pope: a special synod for the Middle East in 2010

Benedetto XVI announced this during a meeting with the important archbishops and patriarchs of the East. The prelates told him of the major problems faced by the Christians in that region, like the increasing fundamentalism and the need for dialogue with Islam.

Castel Gandolfo (AsiaNews) - Benedetto XVI today announced a special Assembly of the Synod dedicated to the Middle East, from the 10th to the 24th of October 2010. The decision to hold the meeting, as an answer to  desire expressed for quite some time by the eastern catholic church, was announced by the pope  during a gathering held this morning  and later for lunch at Castel Gondolfo with the patriarchs and archbishops.

“During this brotherly meeting- said Bendetto XVI- surely in your speeches  the issues that bother will be expressed and can find the adequate guidelines in the right place.  I would like to assure you that you’ll are constantly in my thoughts and prayers. I haven’t forgotten your appeal for peace that you’ll placed in my hands at the end of the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops last October. I would like to take this opportunity to announce the special Assembly of the Synod dedicated to the Middle East, convened by me from the 10th to the 24th of October 2010, and the theme shall be “ The  Catholic church in the Middle East: communion and testimony:  The multitude of those who believed were of one heart and soul (At 4,32)”.

He further added “Today’s meeting reminds me of that held on the 24th of April 2004 in the St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Back then during the first days of my pontificate I wanted an ideal pilgrimage in the heart of the Christian East: a pilgrimage that today had reached another important point and which I intend to continue. In other occasions you’ll have asked for a more regular contact with the bishop of Rome to enforce the communion of your churches with the successor of St.Peter and examine together, any problems of significant importance. This proposal has been renewed even in the last Plenary Congregation for the Eastern churches and in the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. 

As Asianews published yesterday, the patriarchs presented the pope with a note that underlines four points that are very important in the life of the Christians in that region: the growth of fundamentalism in the Middle East and the restlessness of the Christians, the importance of Muslim-Christian dialogue, the position of the oriental catholic patriarch in the universal church and the ecclesiastical jurisdiction in Kuwait and in the gulf countries.

The proposal for an special assembly of the synod for the Middle East was made to the pope last January even by the Iraqi bishop Louis Sako, who said that another problem that must be solved is the continuous exodus of the Christians from the Middle East , especially from Holy Land, Iraq, Iran and Lebanon;  the problem of those who have emigrated and of a pastoral that helps his integration.; the presence of Christians in the social, cultural, religious and political fields and the education of the Christians so that they can fight for their rights on a political, social and cultural level.

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