VATICAN CITY, DEC. 15, 2009 (Zenit.org).- As preparations continue for next October’s special synod on the Middle East, the working document is nearing completion and emphasizes communion within the Church.
The pre-synodal council met in late November, and a communiqué regarding its work was released Monday by the Vatican press office.
“The participants in the meeting dedicated ample space to the topic of the deepening of communion in the Catholic Church and, in particular, between the Patriarchal Churches and the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, as well as the episcopal conferences of the countries of the Middle East,” explained the communiqué.
The statement also highlighted the importance of increasing communion with other Churches and ecclesial communities.
Moreover, it added, “the members of the council did not neglect the topic of relations with Jews and Muslims, insisting above all on the need for dialogue and collaboration in several areas of social and cultural activity.”
Following the Pope’s guidelines, the theme of witness was also addressed.
The secretary-general of the synod of bishops, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, focused his opening address on this topic.
He affirmed that in this vast region that encompasses the land in which the mysteries of our salvation were fulfilled, Christians are called to give witness to the death and resurrection of Christ in virtue of the gift of the Spirit, who inspires believers to act in communion and unity with the whole Church and not individually.
And he pointed out that in evangelizing, new generations must come to know the great patrimony of faith and witness in the different Churches.
This task, he added, is the responsibility of all people in the Church.
The working document for the synod was debated in two groups that then made proposals. This made possible the “elaboration of a text which is already close to its final structure,” noted the communiqué.
Cardinals Ivan Dias and Leonardo Sandri, prefects of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Congregation for Eastern Churches, were joined by eight Eastern patriarchs in the meeting. The presidents of the episcopal conferences of Iran and Turkey also participated.
The council’s first meeting was held in September. The next will take place in April.