Instrumentum laboris: Christians belong to Middle East
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI

.- The Instrumentum laboris, consigned to participants in October's Special Assembly for the Middle East by Pope Benedict XVI, addresses concerns of a decrease in Christian presence in the region, the "vital" nature of Muslim-Christian relations and the need to maintain cohesion between the Churches of the Middle East.

It also insists that the Churches defend their place in the region.

Patriarchs and bishops of the Middle Eastern Churches were on hand in Nicosia, Cyprus on Sunday morning to receive the Instrumentum laboris, or working document, directly from the Pope.

Among other elements the document proposes about the current situation in the Middle East, tradition as a "source of richness" is highlighted as is the importance of the existence of a Christian influence in the region. Their disappearance would be a "great loss" to all people in the Middle East, reads the document, and "here lies the 'grave responsibility'... to maintain the Christian faith in these holy lands."

The document makes note of the decreased "evangelical ardor" and diminished "flame of the spirit" in the Church today. Without vocations, it claims, "the Church will disappear" (...) and the disappearance of Christians "would mean a loss in the pluralism of the Middle East."

According to the document, regional conflicts make the situation of Christians in the area more fragile, however, "Christians are exhorted to remain strong in their commitment in society, despite being tempted towards discouragement."

Noting the general lack of freedom of conscience in the area, the document observes that "clearly the question of public proclamation requires serious reflection" to achieve respect for this right.

It also examines an increase in Islamic extremism which is "a threat to everyone, Christians and Muslims alike," defining relations with Muslims as a "vital necessity, on which a large measure of our future depends."

"Oftentimes, relations between Christians and Muslims are difficult, because Muslims make no distinction between religion and politics thereby relegating Christians to the precarious position of being considered non-citizens, despite the fact that they were citizens of their countries long before the rise of Islam," it reads.

"The key to harmonious living between Christians and Muslims is to recognize religious freedom and human rights."

The document also refers to dialogue with the Jewish community as "essential." It goes on to propose that Christians are called to see themselves not just as members of a particularly-defined Church, but as members of the "Church of the Middle East."

According to the Instrumentum laboris, they must realize that they belong to the Middle East they must see themselves as an "essential part of it," using also peaceful means "to insist that the rights of Christians be acknowledged by civil authorities."

As for ecclesial communion, the document principally manifests points of communion between the many individually-recognized Churches are highlighted as present "through Baptism and the Eucharist" and "through communion with the Successor of St. Peter."

The document, 40 pages in all, was composed from the answers to the Lineamenta questionnaire sent out by the Holy See in January to gain an idea of the current situation in the Middle East in order to prepare participants for October's Special Assembly.

In addition to addressing the Christian identity, fostering communion between Churches and inviting ecumenical commitment and inter-religious dialogue, the synod aims to "supply Christians with the basis for their existence in a predominantly Muslim society, be it Arab, Turkish, Iranian or a Jewish society in the State of Israel."

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass and announces site of next World Youth Day
Pope Francis visits poor neighborhood and meets with young people from Argentina
Pope Francis celebrates Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida
Denver rally draws hundreds in support of religious freedom
Pope Francis prays over a sick man in St Peter's Square
Denver women's clinic will offer natural, Catholic care
Interview Clips: Barbara Nicolosi speaks to CNA
US Cardinals press conference at North American College
Pope Benedict to retire to monastery inside Vatican City
Pope cites waning strength as reason for resignation
Hundreds convene in Denver to urge respect for life
New Orange bishop encourages Catholic unity in diversity
Chinese pro-life activist calls for reform, international attention
At Lincoln installation, Bishop Conley says holiness is success
Mother Cabrini shrine reopens in Chicago after a decade
Ordination of 33 deacons fills St. Peter's with joy
Cardinal says "Charity is the mother of all the virtues"
Augustine Institute expands evangelization effort with new campus
Bishops recall 'Way of St. James' as chance to trust in God
Los Angeles cathedral's newest chapel houses Guadalupe relic

Liturgical Calendar

April 19, 2014

Holy Saturday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 28:1-10


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Gen 1:1-2:2
Gospel:: Mt 28:1-10

Saint of the Day

Blessed James Oldo »


Homily of the Day

Mt 28:1-10


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: