ROME, OCT. 21, 2010 (Zenit.org).- For now at least, the work of the synod on the Middle East is focused on 41 proposals that, after further revisions, will be presented to Benedict XVI this Saturday.
Among the most representative topics included in these proposals is ecumenical dialogue, interreligious dialogue with Muslims and Jews, and the decisive importance of the Christian presence in the Middle East.
Regarding this last objective, the synod fathers have been stressing a duty to protect the identity of the Eastern Catholic Churches, to reinforce communion within the Catholic Church among bishops, clergy and faithful (ad intra) and with the other Churches and ecclesial communities (ad extra).
The proposals call the world’s attention to the problems linked to emigration and immigration in the region and to the promotion of religious liberty, including that of worship and conscience.
Noteworthy is constant reference to a need to intensify cooperation among the Catholic hierarchies in the Middle East through meetings, initiatives of solidarity, and the formation of priests and laity. The proposals also stress the importance of media in transmitting the teachings of the Church.
The proposal list was presented today at the 12th general congregation of the Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops.
Along with the Pope, 162 synod fathers participated in the assembly, coordinated by the president-delegate on duty, Patriarch Ignace Joseph III (Ephrem) Younan of Antioch of the Syrians.
Working groups had elaborated 194 proposals, which were unified and reduced to 41, explained Archbishop Nikola Eterović, secretary-general of the synod.
The document is now being analyzed by the working groups, which can propose possible amendments. A final list will be presented on Saturday morning, at the last general congregation.
The synod will then close on Sunday with a solemn Eucharistic celebration.
The 41 proposals, articulated in an introduction, three chapters and a conclusion, were read by special secretary of the synod, Archbishop Joseph Soueif, archbishop of Cyprus of the Maronites, and by the general-relator, Cardinal-designate Antonios Naguib, patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts.