His Beatitude, Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem, has sent a message to the people of Jordan on the occasion of the upcoming parliamentary elections which will be held on January 23.
According to a Fides News Agency report, the Patriarch thanked King Abdullah II for ensuring that the citizens of Jordan are able to exercise their right to vote.
The Patriarch defined the parliamentary elections as a “valuable opportunity” offered to Jordanian citizens to exercise their rights and duties as part of their “beloved homeland.”
“That Country, after the worship due to the one God, occupies a position of first importance, since dedication towards one’s Country precedes and guarantees the protection of the legitimate interests of individuals or groups,” Patriarch Twal wrote.
On addressing the Christians, Patriarch Twal recalls that Christ himself invited his disciples to be “in the world” as salt, light and leaven. “There is no contradiction between the worship of God and belonging to one’s own country,” he wrote.
His Beatitude expressed his hope that the elections will bring to the Parliament “righteous people before God and to his own conscience so that the Parliamentary Assembly can take responsibility even in the season of instability lived in the Middle East.”
Regarding Christian candidates, the Patriarch called on them to serve the common good and his brothers and sisters “before themselves,” fleeing sectarian logic. Patriarch Twal also stated that Christian candidates are expected to act with a sense of responsibility and love “recommended to the followers of Christ,” which is the hallmark of Christian life “at all times and in all places.”
In his message, the Patriarch also cites a speech in 1993 of his predecessor, Patriarch Michel Sabbah, along with a passage of the working document for the Synod on the Middle East (held in the Vatican in October 2010) in which reference is made to the positive contribution that Christians are always called to offer to the benefit of the society in which they live.
Concluding his appeal, Patriarch Twal cited the First Letter of St. Paul to Timothy, making an invitation to pray “for kings and all those who are in high positions, so that we may lead a tranquil life, with all godliness and dignity.” The Patriarch of Jerusalem invoked God’s blessing upong “the beloved kingdom” of Jordan, and called on Jordanian citizens to take part in the upcoming elections.
Patriarch Twal’s intervention – who was born in Madaba, in central Jordan, and belongs to a Bedouin family of ancient Christian tradition – represents a significant public statement of the democratic legitimacy of the forthcoming elections, boycotted by Islamist forces.