The Synod of the Bishops for the Middle East : The final message of the Synod Fathers

Source: FSSPX News

The first Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, held at the Vatican from October 10-24, was a meeting of representatives from the seven Eastern Catholic Churches on the topic: The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness. “Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul(Acts 4:32).

The final message of the Synod Fathers

On October 23, during the fourteenth general Congregation, the Synod Fathers approved the final message of the Special Assembly for the Middle East.

They affirmed that they had been conscious of the impact of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the whole region, primarily on the Palestinian people that suffers the consequences of the Israeli occupation. They also “reflected on the suffering and insecurity in which Israelis live,” all the while being “disturbed” by the “unilateral initiatives” that threaten to change Jerusalem’s demographic balance and status. If the UN resolutions are respected, the synod’s final message explained, “the Palestinian people” could finally have “an independent and sovereign nation and live in dignity and stability.”

As for the State of Israel, it “will be able to enjoy peace and security within its internationally recognized borders.” Following the publication of the text entitled Nostra Aetate by the Second Vatican Council on the subject of dialogue with Judaism, Islam, and other religions, the Synod Fathers continue, “We hope that this dialogue will allow us to take action with the authorities in order to put a stop to the political conflict which unceasingly separates us and troubles the life of our countries.” However, the Fathers declare that “it is not permitted to use Biblical and theological positions as a tool to justify injustices.”

During a press conference at the Vatican, Bishop Cyrille Salim Bustros, president of the Commission for the synod’s final message, explained the passage blaming the Hebrew State for using “Biblical and theological positions” to “justify the injustices committed”. “As Christians,” he said, “we can no longer speak of a Promised Land for the Jewish people,” because this promise has been “abolished by the presence of Christ.” Therefore, “there is no longer any preferred people, any chosen people; all men and women of all countries have now become the chosen people.” “The idea of the Promised Land cannot serve as grounds to justify the Jews’ return to Israel and the expatriation of the Palestinians,” explained the Lebanese prelate of the Greek Melkite rite. That is why “Sacred Scripture must not be used to justify Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.”

After reflecting “on the bloody sufferings of the Iraqi people”, the Synod Fathers maintain that enforcement of all the United Nations’ resolutions would allow Iraq to “put a stop to the consequences of this bloody war” and “restore security to protect all its citizens along with all their social, religious, and national elements.” They also esteem that “Lebanon will enjoy sovereignty over all its territory, strengthen its national unity, and continue in its vocation to be a model of conviviality between Christians and Muslims, by means of cultural and religious dialogue and by promoting public liberties.”

Concerning cooperation and dialogue with Muslims, the Synod Fathers state that “we are united by faith in one God and by the commandment that teaches us to do good and avoid evil”, that “we will build our civil societies on citizenship, religious liberty, and liberty of conscience”, and that “it is therefore our duty to educate believers in interreligious dialogue, the acceptance of pluralism, and mutual respect and esteem.” “Our mission and vocation,” they declare, is to “live together, as Christians and Muslims.”

In this message written in Arabic, the bishops and patriarchs of the Eastern Churches condemn “violence and terrorism, wherever they come from and all religious extremism”, after calling upon the international community, and in particular the United Nations, to “work sincerely to find a just and definite solution bringing peace to the region, by enforcing the resolutions of the Security Council and by taking the legal measures necessary to stop the occupation of various Arab territories.”

“We condemn every kind of racism, anti-Semitism, anti-Christianity, and anti-Islamism,” write the Eastern prelates, “and we call upon the different religious groups to assume their responsibilities to promote dialogue between different cultures and civilizations in our region and in the whole world.” – It is very telling to note how the Synod Fathers rely with such confidence on the resolutions made by the United Nations in the Middle East, following the ideology of the New World Order and its terminology, under the label “theological” taken from the Council’s declaration Nostra Aetate. It is no wonder that the intervention of the Lebanese prelate, Bishop Raboula Antoine Beylouni, so lacking in political correctness, was only written and not pronounced orally. The Rabbi and the ayatollah, however, were able to speak to the Pope and the Bishops directly. (NDLR)

Addressing the situation of the immigrants going to work in the Middle East – many of whom are Asians -, the Synod Fathers encourage the Christian Churches to “give special attention to these brothers and sisters and to their difficulties, whatever their religion may be, especially when they are exposed to violations of their rights and dignity.” They also invite “the governments of the countries receiving the immigrants to respect and defend their rights.”

More generally, the participants at the first Synod of Bishops for the Middle East esteem that today Christians in this region find themselves “at a historical turning point.” While they make a long list of the “many challenges” that they must face, they judge that “the first” among them is to bring about “the unity of all Christians.” “We confess,” the leaders of the Eastern Churches continue, “that up to now we have not done everything that was in our power to better practice communion within our communities.”

Special Synod of the Bishops for the Middle East :

An ayatollah at the Synod
Presentation of the Synod
Opening of the Synod
Report from Rabbi David Rosen
Intervention of the Shiite ayatollah Seyyed Mostafa Mohaghegh Damad
A Lebanese bishop vigorously denounces the Koran
The synod’s final propositions
The close of the Synod