The Holy Father opens work of the Synod
On Monday October 11th, , the work of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops began, in the presence of the Holy Father who gave the reflection. A report was delivered in Arabic by H.E. the Most Rev. Nikola Eterovic , secretary general for the Synod.
The theme for this unprecedented event is: “The Catholic Church in the Middle East: communion and witness.” The Holy Father recalled that Christianity was born in the Middle East and spread from this region, but it was also here that it was divided.
The Holy Father entrusted the work of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops to the intercession of the Virgin Mother of God…through Mary, “God was united radically with the man Jesus, and from her was born the God of the earth… with the incarnation God drew us into Himself and now we fully participate in the relationship with Him.”
“All this is a painful process that never ends. It passes from the Cross of Christ and continues in the nascent Christian communities. It is a process of transformation that costs the suffering of Christ’s witnesses. And today too, the Lord has to be born into the world with the fall of the gods, with the pain and martyrdom of the witnesses against today’s divinities: anonymous capital that enslaves men, violence perpetrated in God’s name, ideologies, drugs, new models of life. Threatened by our behavior, the external foundations are shaken because the internal ones are shaken. It is faith, above all simple faith, that is the true foundation and true wisdom, as well as the true strength of the Church.”
The report of H.B. Antonios Naguib, Patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts expressed honor and pride of having “come from lands where men, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote the Holy Books in some of our native languages.” He also spoke of the pride of Christians to be born and living in these lands – the cradle of Christianity. They are also proud to be full citizens of countries where they suffer, but are nonetheless their homeland, and are especially proud of their worth in serving many for the common good through their involvement in social work, health care, education and more.
The Patriarch of Alexandria has not masked the problems, the burden of political and social situations which are restricting religious freedom and conscience, and emigration that is seriously affecting our Christian communities. He called for a true witness of Christian life – not to retreat into ghettoes but to participate in building a positive milieu in favor of more democracy and ongoing dialogue with Jews and Muslims. He hopes that this Synod is the opportunity for a considerable review of life situations from a spiritual perspective into a journey of conversion.
H.B. Fouad Twal, Latin Patriarch and his Vicars are pleased to be in an atmosphere of fraternity and mutual support among the participants, and appreciate the excellent planning and organization of the Synod.
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Sources : Radio Vatican and Media LPJ