Monday, October 25, 2010

Pope Ends Synod on Middle East with Strong Call for Peace

Tribulation Times


October 26, 2010 

(Gal 3:28-29) There is neither Jew nor Greek: there is neither bond nor free: there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you be Christ's, then are you the seed of Abraham, heirs according to the promise.

HEADLINEPope Ends Synod on Middle East with Strong Call for Peace

Pope Benedict held mass at Saint Peter's Basilica Sunday to mark the closing of a two-week special synod of bishops on the Middle East.  He used the occasion to issue a strong call for peace in the region.

The pope said one must never resign oneself to the lack of peace.  Peace is possible, it is urgent and it is the indispensable condition for a life worthy of the human person and of society.

The pope addressed participants to the special synod for the Middle East, who have been meeting in the Vatican for two weeks.  He said in recent days they shared the joys, pains, concerns and hopes of Christians in the region.

In his homily, the pope called for dialogue, saying that persistent conflicts, wars, violence and terrorism have plagued the Middle East.

The pope said Christians can help promote authentic religious freedom, a fundamental right that every state should respect.  He said that in many Middle Eastern countries the space for religious freedom is often very limited.

Pope Benedict added that widening this space of freedom is necessary to guarantee to members of the various religious communities true freedom to live and profess their faith.  And this, he said, could become the subject of dialogue between Christians and Muslims, a dialogue whose urgency and usefulness was stressed by the synod participants.

MORE: Vatican rejects "chosen people" claim, calls on Israel to end "occupation"

A high-ranking Israeli official on Sunday slammed a statement from Catholic bishops, who called for international organizations to lead the cause of Palestinian statehood.

Greek-Melchite Archbishop Cyrille Bustros sparked an interreligious firestorm when he suggested that Israel was “using Scripture” to continue its occupation of Palestinian territory.

"The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians,” Bustros said at the close of a two-week conference in Rome, Italy, “to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands.” The Archbishop then questioned the biblical idea of a “promised land” set aside by a specific group of people.

"We Christians cannot speak of the promised land as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people,” Bustros continued.  "This promise was nullified by Christ.  There is no longer a chosen people – all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people."

Bustros led the group that drafted the synod's concluding statement on Israel and the Palestinians.

The controversial comments came at the conclusion of a two-week Vatican conference assembled to discuss the plight of Christians in the Middle East.

Pope Benedict XVI was in attendance at the synod and celebrated Mass in St.  Peter's Cathedral on Sunday with the bishops.

RELATED: Middle East synod wraps up with call to action

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 26- "Brief Summary on Discernment"

29. As he who wears perfumes makes his presence felt by the fragrance whether he wants to or not, so he who has the Spirit of the Lord is known by his words and his humility.       

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