Synod Fathers Erase "Fear" From Mideast Vocabulary

Seek to Make Assembly an Impetus for Hope

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 22, 2010 ( The first Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops is wrapping up in Rome, and its participants hope that the gathering will serve to erase a few words from the vocabulary of Christians in the region.

Cardinal-designate Antonios Naguib, patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt, the synod’s general-relator, revealed in an interview with L’Osservatore Romano that the synod fathers would like to delete from the «dictionary» of the Mideast Churches words such as «fear,» «desperation,» «loneliness,» and «timidity,» and put in their place words such as «valor,» «hope,» «communion,» and «testimony.»

He explained to the semi-official Vatican paper that after several interventions in the Synod Hall, «which were frequently centered on the fears and desperation that until today has characterized the daily life of the Christians in this region, we decided to eliminate those words.»

«The synod father expressly asked to stop mentioning the fears in all the documents, beginning with the proposals,» he said. The proposals will be presented on Saturday to Benedict XVI.

«The wish of everyone was that this synodal assembly could give a grand impulse to hope,» the patriarch added.

On Saturday morning, the synod fathers will take their final votes on the concluding message of the synod, and on the list of propositions that will presented to the Pontiff. The assembly will officially close on Sunday with a solemn Eucharistic celebration.

The assembly met for two intense weeks, during which more than 150 synodal fathers and observers took the floor in the Synod Hall. In addition, three special guests spoke — a Jewish rabbi and two Muslims — as well as several fraternal delegates from other Churches and Christian communities.

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