Aide: Synod Is Voice for Peace in Mideast

Says Problems in That Region Involve All of Us

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 10, 2010 ( A Vatican spokesman is underlining the current synod of bishops as a voice for peace in the Middle East.

During the latest episode of «Octava Dies,» Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, spoke about the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops, which began today in Rome.

From today until Oct. 24, he noted, «the Catholics of the Middle East will be at the center of attention of the whole Church since their bishops will be gathered in Rome for the synod.»

«The Middle East,» the priest explained, «is a region in which Christians are a minority, in some countries a very small one and without any political or social influence, and in [some] of these countries the situation of war or permanent tension weighs on hope for the future and marginalizes it.»

«But it is also the region where Christianity was born,» he added, «where it has very ancient traditional roots of extraordinary cultural and spiritual richness.»

«Thus the problems of the Churches in the Middle East interest all of us and involve of us,» the spokesman affirmed, «and this is why the Pope convoked this assembly, which for the first time is dedicated not to a theme or a continent or individual country, but to a specific region of the world.»

«The synod’s theme is ‘Communion and Witness,'» Father Lombardi continued, «which recalls how the first community of believers in Jerusalem ‘were of one heart and one soul.'»

He noted, «Those who do not have political or military power, those who often suffer violence, cannot but appeal to the power of the spirit and of love, and they can cry out and call for peace in a strong and credible way that is not linked or mixed with factional claims or interests.»

«The profound union between the different Catholic communities spread throughout the Middle East,» the priest concluded, «favored by the support of many Churches in other parts of the world who show their solidarity with spiritual and material aid, favored above all by the continual and intense participation of the Pope — the true foundation of unity — makes this synod a voice, a sign and a seed of hope and peace.»

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