Friday, September 18, 2009

Pope of Rome & Patriarchs to meet on Islam

Beirut (AsiaNews) – The growth of fundamentalism in the Middle East and the concerns it is generating among Christians, the importance of Islamic-Christian dialogue, the status of Eastern Catholic Patriarchs in the Universal Church and the Ecclesiastic jurisdiction in Kuwait and the Gulf States are the four main issues the seven Eastern Catholic Patriarchs will discuss tomorrow with Benedict XVI at their request.

Maronite Patriarch Nasrallah Boutros Sfeir, Armenian Catholicos Bédros XIX and Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan arrived in Rome yesterday; Melkite Patriarch Gregory III, Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel Delly, Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Fouad Twal and Coptic Patriarch Antonios Naguib will join them today.

The Patriarchs’ observations are contained in a note to be delivered to the Pope. In their meeting, they plan to talk in great detail with the Holy Father first of all about issues relating to the place of their Churches in the Universal Church as well as other ecclesiological matters, including the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of Kuwait and the other Gulf emirates, countries which in recent years have welcomed tens of thousands of Arab Christian blue and white collar workers attracted by their booming economies. The Eastern Churches want Rome to reflect on the fact that from an historical perspective the region should belong to the Antiochian Rite.

The Patriarchs are also concerned about the fate of Christians of the Middle East, who are challenged, especially in Egypt and Iraq, by the growth of fundamentalism. They will stress the importance of a strong and concerted international action to redress the injustice visited upon Palestine, and will recommend a just resolution that would include the right of Palestinians to their own state. They also insist on the importance of the Islamic-Christian dialogue.

During their stay in Rome, the Patriarchs will also participate on 21 and 22 September to a preparatory session for a special assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, which should be held in the Vatican next year.
And also...
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Vatican sources are saying that Pope Benedict XVI will convene a Synod of Bishops for the Middle East to be held in October of 2010, to address the trials and tribulations of the Christian population in the region.

Patriarchs and other representatives from Eastern churches were arriving in Rome Friday, and the pope was to meet with them Saturday morning to discuss the initiative, the sources said. An announcement was expected in coming days.

Pope Benedict has spoken frequently about the pressures faced by Christian and Catholic minorities in the Middle East, particularly in the Holy Land and in Iraq. The synod would provide an opportunity for a much-needed strategizing session at the level of the universal church, one source said.

Late in the day, the Vatican press office released the names of the patriarchs and other representatives meeting tomorrow with the pope. They include the Chaldean patriarch, Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly of Baghdad; Latin Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem; the Lebanon-based Maronite patriarch, Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre P. Sfeir; and representatives of the Ukrainian, Syro-Malabar, Coptic, Melkite, Syrian, Armenian, Romanian and Syro-Malankar rites.

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