Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Three prelates spoke about issues from Africa and the Middle East in today’s daily press briefing on the Synod of the Family
Addressing the West, Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Ephrem Joseph III Younan issued an appeal “not to forget the Christians in the Middle East".
"We are very concerned and alarmed about the situation of Christian communities in the Middle East,” he said, “especially because of the catastrophic trials families are going through, splitting up as they try to escape the living hell of Syria and Iraq”.
“We have hundreds of people held hostage by Islamic terrorists,” he explained. “Such a catastrophe has lasting effects.” Indeed, "We deplore the fact that we cannot convince the younger generation to stay where Christianity was born".
For his part, Fr Federico Lombardi, director of the Holy See Press Office, dealt with a question about the “hermeneutics of conspiracy", attributed to the Pope two days ago, but never reported by the Vatican.
“I have not reported this expression. It came from another source. I do not have to deny it,” Fr Lombardi said. “Clearly, the concept is that we should not believe in conspiracies. We should see the Synod as a process of exchange, and communication, taking place in peace and sincerity, not as something driven by special interests or attempts to manipulate or lead it away from what it ought to be, namely a joint process of research in the spirit of what Church community must do."
This spirit "is one of a Church community on a quest and a journey”. The Synod’s vision, “inside and outside," should be that of "a process, an exchange of communication that takes place in peace, not driven by special interests or attempts to lead the process of joint research away from the spirit of what a Church community must do."
Card Edoardo Menichelli and Archbishop Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle took part in the briefing on behalf of the work groups.
“We are not here to stop anyone, but to offer what we feel about the family and the good of the Church,” said Mgr Palmer-Buckle, archbishop of Accra (Ghana).
"In Africa, there is the concept of the extended family,” he noted, “and we want to see how to keep alive the values and the joys of the extended family,” because “The future of the family is the mission of the Church".
From his part, Card Menichelli called the assembly "a synod of the people, the result of the contribution of the dioceses." The topics discussed included female deaconate.
Discussions in the work groups “are open. No one is trying to impose his views. In fact, everyone wants to learn [from others] to offer new directions, and show love towards families as well as the concern that the Church often expresses towards phenomena that would not, quote, fully dignify the family."
Fr Lombardi informed the media that the last members of the Synod’s Information Commission, headed by Mgr Claudio Maria Celli, had been named. They are Mgr Jose Serofia Palma, archbishop of Cebu in the Philippines, Mgr Octavio Nieves of San Juan of Puerto Rico, and Mgr Ignace Dogbo of the Ivory Coast.
A website for the synod activities has also been set up to provide video and audio material, including interviews with the Synod Fathers, in different languages, including Chinese.