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Middle East Latin bishops thank Pope for peace efforts, push for dialogue in Syria

2013-09-21

The Conference of Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions closed off their yearly gathering in Rome. They discussed many important issues. But perhaps the most pressing were the Arab Spring and the situation in Syria.   


FR. DAVID NEUHAUS 
Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel 
"Unfortunately the bishop of Egypt and the bishop of Syria were not with us, which is already very evocative of the problems that we're living at this time.” 

With the gathering, the bishops celebrated 50 years since the foundation of the episcopal conference solely for the bishops of the Latin, or Roman Catholic, rite in the Middle East and East Africa. 

The bishops discussed their unique pastoral challenges; as well as their work with other Catholic and Christian communities. Bishops also talked about the need for dialogue with other religions. But the biggest issue on hand was the Syrian conflict and the effect it has on their respective countries. 

FR. DAVID NEUHAUS 
Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel 
"The influx of Syrians into these countries has called the Church to give a very particular witness to Caritas, to a real care for those refugees coming. And through the Caritas agencies much work is being done in order to alleviate the suffering of those coming in.” 

Caritas, the Catholic Church's aid agency, plays an active role in helping out refugees of any religion. The Latin bishops agreed to support Caritas as much as they can. But they also called on the international community to promote dialogue in Syria

In their statement, the bishops thanked the Pope for his continued efforts in supporting peace in the Middle East. 

FR. DAVID NEUHAUS
Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics in Israel 
"His call for a day of fasting and prayer for us in a certain sense seemed miraculous, when we think that before that day everybody was talking about just war, and after that day, everybody started talking about the need to have dialogue between the two parties.” 

The Latin bishops also asked "people of good will” to pray for the Middle East and the Syrian conflict. The Conference of Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions was founded in 1963. It's currently made up of 14 members representing Roman Catholics in the Middle East and East Africa. 


RCarr 
RR/Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem 
-JM 
-PR 
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