"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Synod: no to anti-Semitism and violence, but solidarity with Palestinians

The report after discussions states that the Palestinian situation favors Islamic fundamentalism which is growing and stifles all forms of religious freedom, encourages emigration and impoverishes countries in the region. The choice of dialogue, but "in truth". Christians must not close in on themselves but promote democracy, justice and the secular nature of the state.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) - " While condemning the violence whatever its origin and calling for a just and lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we express our solidarity with the Palestinian people, whose current situation encourages fundamentalism" in the region. Hence the lack of respect for religious freedom a major cause of the increasing emigration of Christians and often educated people of other religions, which deprives the country of important energy.

The “Relatio post disceptationem”, or report after discussions, is explicit regarding the dramatic situation in the Middle East and particularly the Christians who live in the region. The report was read this morning in the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, in the presence of the Pope, by the general relator, Egyptian Archbishop Antonios Naguib, patriarch of Alexandria of the Copts.

"The socio-political situation of our countries - the document states - have a direct impact on Christians, who feel more strongly their negative consequences”, particularly of events like the war in Iraq and the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Regarding the latter it reiterates the call for a two-state solution and says that "on more than one occasion the Holy See has clearly expressed its position, hoping that the two peoples can live in peace, each in its homeland with secure, internationally recognized borders".

Large space is devoted to religious freedom. It "is the basis of relations between Muslims and Christians" and "should be a priority issue in interreligious dialogue. We would like - the document states - the Koranic principle that 'no compulsion in religion' was actually put into practice". Some synod fathers "spoke of the constraints, limits on freedom, violence and exploitation of migrant workers in other countries". This latter fact is part of the growing phenomenon of many workers of Christian religions arriving from Africa and Asia, mainly women. "These - explain the synod fathers - find themselves in an atmosphere of Muslim predominance, and sometimes with little opportunity for religious practice. Many feel abandoned, faced with abuse and mistreatment, in situations of injustice, and violation of laws and international conventions”. To the point that “some immigrants change their names to be more accepted and supported".

While making these present realities, none of the Fathers, though, " No one quoted the Koranic verses on which the extremists base themselves to justify their attitude and acts of violence. This shows the praiseworthy attitude of the Pastors to see what unites and calms rather than what separates. " " Our closeness to Muslims is strengthened by 14 centuries of living together, in enduring difficult moments as well as many positive ones”.

Clear, therefore, the choice in favour of dialogue, which in order to be successful, requires that Christians and Muslims know each other better. "We have the duty to educate our faithful for interreligious dialogue and in the acceptance of religious diversity, in respect and in mutual esteem. The prejudices inherited from the history of conflicts and controversies, on both sides, must be carefully faced, clarified and corrected". In any case, "dialogue must be fulfilled in truth”.

Even in the current situation, however, Christians "must become increasingly rooted in their societies and not be tempted to turn inward as a minority." Instead, "according to the possibilities in each country, Christians must promote democracy, justice and peace, and positive secularism in the distinction between religion and state and respect for every religion."

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