The Special Council for the Middle East of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops met Jan. 20-21 in Rome. A final communiqué was released Tuesday.
“The contributions from the various members confirmed that the general socio-political conditions continue to be tense in several countries of the Middle East,” the communiqué noted.
The council called for “material and moral support” for the Christian peoples, affirming their “right to exercise their liberty of worship and religions.”
Among the council participants were Cardinal Antonios Naguib, patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts (Egypt); Patriarch Ignace Joseph III (Ephrem) Younan, patriarch of Antioch of the Syriacs (Lebanon); His Beatitude Michel Sabbah, retired patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins; and Auxiliary Bishop Shlemon Warduni of the Patriarchate of Babylon of the Chaldeans (Iraq).
“Respect of Christian communities helps to extinguish eventual anti-Christian hotbeds in the Middle East and to halt the emigration of Christians of the region, which is their native land, and fosters the common good,” the council declared.
These council meetings aid Benedict XVI in the preparation of the postsynodal apostolic exhortation, which will include the proposals resulting from the first synod on the Middle East in the history of the Church.
The council will convene again in March.