Pope tells Middle East Synod: 'Peace is possible. Peace in urgent'

Pope Benedict during Edinburgh visit

Pope Benedict during Edinburgh visit

“Conflicts, wars, violence and terrorism have gone on for too long in the Middle East. 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.” These were the words of the Holy Father Benedict XVI during the Eucharistic Celebration with the Synodal Fathers at the conclusion of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which he presided on Sunday, October 24 at the Vatican Basilica.
After exhorting everyone to pray for peace in the Middle East and work “ to ensure that this gift of God to men of goodwill should spread through the whole world,” the Pope mentioned another contribution that Christians can offer society: “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.”  
In the homily, the Pope recalled “our numerous brothers and sisters who live in the region of the Middle East and who find themselves in trying situations, at times very burdensome, both for the material poverty and for the discouragement, the state of tension and at times of fear.” The Synodal Assembly has allowed for an exchange of “the joys and the pains, the concerns and the hopes of Christians in the Middle East” as well as the “the unity of the Church in the variety of Churches present in that region,” the Pope said, calling for greater value to be given to the “liturgical, spiritual and theological wealth of the Eastern Catholic Churches, as well as of the Latin Church...[as well as] in the respective communities of the Middle East, encouraging the participation of the faithful in liturgical celebrations of other Catholic rites, thus opening themselves to the dimensions of the Universal Church.”
Among the challenges of the Catholic Church in the Middle East, the Pope mentioned “communion within each sui iuris Church, as well as in the relationships between the various Catholic Churches of different traditions,” and noted the need for humility, “in order to recognize our limitations, our errors and omissions,” as “fuller communion within the Catholic Church favors ecumenical dialogue with other Churches and ecclesial communities as well.”

In conclusion, he offers an exhortation to Christians in the Middle East, who although they are small in number, “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...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.”

Source: Fides

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