News / Middle East

Middle East Catholic Bishops Open Rome Meeting

Pope Benedict XVI blesses the altar as he celebrates a mass for the opening of a crisis summit of Middle East bishops to discuss the future of embattled Christians in the region, in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican, 10 Oct 2010.
Pope Benedict XVI blesses the altar as he celebrates a mass for the opening of a crisis summit of Middle East bishops to discuss the future of embattled Christians in the region, in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican, 10 Oct 2010.
Sabina Castelfranco

Pope Benedict XVI celebrated a special mass in Saint Peter's Basilica, presiding over the opening of a two-week Synod of Bishops of the Middle East.  The purpose of the synod is to reflect on the present and future of the faithful and the populations in the Middle East.

For two weeks, bishops will be discussing problems in the Middle East.  Among the issues are the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, strife in Iraq, radical Islamism, regional economic crises and the divisions among the region's many Christian churches.

More than 170 Catholic bishops from Islamic countries, as well as Roman officials, non-Catholic Christians and academic experts will discuss the future of Christian communities in the Middle East.  Representatives of the Jewish and Muslim faiths have been invited to address the gathering.  

Pope Benedict presided over a mass Sunday to mark the opening of the "Special Assembly for the Middle East" in Saint Peter's Basilica.  The unprecedented meeting will be held in Vatican City from October 10th to 24th.

In his homily, the pope said the Middle East is the land of the exodus and of the return from exile, the land where Jesus lived, died and resurrected, the cradle of the church, established to bring the Gospel of Christ to the borders of the world.

And we too as believers, the pope said, look at the Middle East, in the prospect of the history of salvation.

This, the pope said, is the interior feeling that guided me in my apostolic visits to Turkey, the Holy Land - Jordan, Israel and Palestine - and Cyprus, where I was able to see closely the joys and concerns of the Christian communities.

Conditions for Christians vary from country to country in the Middle East, but the overall picture is dramatic. Christians made up around 20 percent of the region's population a century ago, but now account for only about five percent.

During the mass, prayers were recited in English, Hebrew, Turkish, Arabic and Farsi.  

The pope said he welcomed the proposal by the patriarchs and bishops for this assembly to reflect on the present and future of the faithful and the populations in the Middle East.

The official objective of the synod is to strengthen Christian identity and promote ecumenism in Muslim countries.  Significant issues are acquiring religious freedom - to be understood as freedom of worship and instituting human rights education.

You May Like

Uganda Court Annuls Anti-Gay Law

Court says law was passed in parliament without enough members present for a full quorum More

Multimedia Thailand Makes Efforts to Improve Conditions for Migrant Laborers

In Thailand, its not uncommon for parents to bring their children to work; one company, in-collaboration with other organizations, address safety concerns More

In Indonesia, Jihad Video Raises Concern

Video calls on Indonesians to join Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, ISIL More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborersi
X
Steve Herman
August 01, 2014 6:22 PM
Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video In Thailand, Some Efforts to Improve Conditions For Migrant Laborers

Thailand has been facing increasing international scrutiny as a hub of human trafficking and slave labor. Some of the kingdom’s companies are striving to improve working conditions, especially for the millions of migrant laborers from surrounding countries. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok takes a look at one initiative for children at construction sites
Video

Video Public Raises its Voice on Power Plant Pollution

In the United States, proposed rules to cut pollution from the nation’s 600 coal-fired power plants are generating a heated debate. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, charged with writing and implementing the plan, has already received 300,000 written comments. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, another 1,600 people are lining up this week at EPA headquarters and at satellite offices around the country to give their testimony in person.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video China Investigates Powerful Former Security Chief

The public in China is welcoming the Communist Party's decision to investigate one of the country's once most powerful politicians, former domestic security chief Zhou Yongkang. Analysts say the move by President Xi Jinping is not only an effort to win more support for the party, but an essential step to furthering much needed economic reforms and removing those who would stand in the way of change. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.

AppleAndroid