Yesterday the Holy Father received participants in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches. John Paul II said the Holy See would do everything it could to support liturgical and catechetical renewal in the region and would consider proposals for the election of bishops in the Patriarchal Churches. On the state of the Eastern Churches and their prospects for pastoral renewal, the Pope said he was familiar with the difficulties that the Eastern communities encounter in many places: "Few people, lack of means, isolation, and being a minority frequently impede serene and effective educational and charitable pastoral care. In addition, there is an incessant emigration of the most prepared members of your Churches to the West." "And what is there to say," he asked, "of the suffering endured in the Holy Land and other Eastern countries, dragged into a dangerous spiral that seems humanly unstoppable? May God end this vortex of violence as soon as possible!" The Pope appealed for peace through the intercession of Blessed John XXIII who "lived for many years in the East, and loved the Eastern Churches so much... May he also intercede so that these Churches do not close themselves off to the ways of the past and so that they open up to that healthy revision that he himself desired in line with the sapient harmony between 'nova et vetera'." He concluded by invoking Our Lady's protection for the members of the communities that extend from the Middle East to Africa and from Europe to India, "in particular for those in the Holy Land and Iraq who are going through difficult moments of great suffering." source: Vatican Information Service
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