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March, 2018
Volume 44, Number 1
  
16 October 2012
Greg Kandra




In Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre on 18 March 2012, a priest lights a candle in front of a picture of Coptic Orthodox Pope Shenouda III of Alexandria, Egypt. After serving as patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church for 41 years, he died on 17 March at the age of 88. (photo: CNS/Ammar Awad, Reuters)

Egypt’s Coptic Orthodox Church announces candidates to succeed Pope Shenouda III (Egypt Independent) In a surprise move, several powerful figures within the Coptic Orthodox Church have been barred from running in the next papal elections by the papal election committee, while only five senior clergymen have been selected to run. Bishop Pachomius, the acting patriarch, said in a press conference broadcast by Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, that that only five candidates are running in the election to succeed Pope Shenouda III and be enthroned as the 118th Pope and Patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa on the Holy Apostolic See of Saint Mark the Evangelist. The candidates include two bishops: Bishop Tawadros, who holds the title of auxiliary bishop for the Holy Metropolis of Beheira, and Bishop Raphael, who holds the title of assistant bishop for Central Cairo. The other three candidates are all monks: Raphael Ava Mina, Pachomius al-Soriany and Saravim al-Soriany.

New concerns over European Muslims hoping to fight in Syria (Associated Press) European governments have been among the most vocal supporters of Syria’s rebels — to a point: Last week, Muslims in Britain and France accused of trying to join the fight against the regime were detained. For security officials, the fear is that extremists with European passports who are alienated and newly trained to wage war will ultimately take skills learned in Syria and use them back home. In France, where an Islamic extremist trained in Pakistan attacked a Jewish school and a group of soldiers earlier this year, the fear is particularly acute.

Egyptian Catholics promoting political training courses (Fides) In the coming weeks the Egyptian Catholic communities will promote social and political training courses. The initiative aims to revive the pilot experience already inspired by the Coptic Catholic Patriarchate after the end of the Mubarak regime. Botros Fahim Awad Hanna, Coptic Catholic auxiliary bishop of Alexandria, explains: “[T]he pastoral Council of the Catholic Church in Egypt recommended enhancing this work of formation, indicating it as a priority for all the Egyptian Catholic communities of different rite. ... We are waiting for the new Constitution. One makes choices designed to affect our individual lives and community. When the first draft of laws come out, we need to have the tools to be able to analyze, to know how to express a clear opinion, so one can say yes or no to the new Constitution in a reasonable manner.”

Remembering Canada’s Bishop Roman Danylak (Catholic Register) Roman Danylak, retired bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic eparchy of Toronto, was remembered for never turning away a person in need. “He was very much a pastor,” said his sister Olga Danylak. “He was very much a people person.” The bishop passed away at age 81 on 7 October. He was laid to rest at St. Volodymyr Cemetery in Oakville, Ontario, on 11 October following a funeral service at St. Jospahat’s the same day.



Tags: Egypt Syrian Civil War Muslim Canada Coptic Orthodox Church

15 October 2012
Greg Kandra




Pope Benedict XVI greets Maronite Catholic Patriarch Bechara at the start of Mass on the waterfront in Beirut on 16 September. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Patriarch of Antioch: catechists and missionaries are “special envoys” for Year of Faith (Fides) More than 700 priests, nuns, lay people, educators, leaders and catechists received a solemn “missionary mandate” for the Year of Faith by His Beatitude Bechara, Maronite patriarch of Antioch and all the East and president of the Assembly of Catholic Patriarchs and Bishops in Lebanon.

At Istanbul World Forum: religion can be a catalyst for peace (Vatican Radio) The secretary of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, Father Miguel Angel Ayuso Guixot says the pope’s remarks on justice and religious freedom on his recent trip to Lebanon inspired his discourse to participants at the Istanbul World Forum on 13-14 October. The theme of the forum was “Justice and the Construction of a New Global Order.”

Coptic Christians in Egypt living in fear (Haaretz) After a long history of persecution as a minority in Egypt, in these days the nonetheless resilient Copts face a dire moment.

Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre meets in Tulsa (Tulsa World) Eight hundred knights and ladies of a 1,000-year-old Catholic order devoted to supporting Christianity in Israel and the Palestinian territories are meeting this weekend in Tulsa.

Patriarch Kirill arrives in Minsk, praises common past and future (Belarusian Telegraph Agency) The people of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine have a shared heritage and destiny, Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia said at a dedication ceremony for the memorial to Patriarch Alexy II at the Church of all Saints in Minsk on 14 October. “Belarus, Russia and Ukraine are three brotherly nations united by the common fate, common past and, I am confident, have a common future,” the patriarch said.

Vatican marks International Day of Rural Women (Vatican Radio) On 15 October, we observe the International Day of Rural Women. Established by the United Nations in 2008, it recognizes “the critical role and contribution of rural women, including indigenous women, in enhancing agricultural and rural development, improving food security and eradicating rural poverty.” Rural women play a critical role in the rural economies of both developed and developing countries.



Tags: Lebanon Ukraine Pope Benedict XVI Russia Maronite Patriarch Bechara Peter

12 October 2012
Greg Kandra




In this image from 2010, seminarians from Jordan work in the computer room at the Latin Patriarchal Seminary in Beit Jala, West Bank. (photo: Debbie Hill)

If you want to keep up with what’s happening in CNEWA’s world, some of the best resources are literally at your fingertips.

Here are five invaluable web sites that can help you keep track of developments in some of the places we serve:

  1. News.va. This is a relatively new site, but it’s quickly become a daily must-read. The site, run by the Holy See, offers translations of papal homilies and audiences, along with breaking news and announcements from the Vatican and editorials from L’Osservatore Romano. There are also links to its Facebook and YouTube pages. There’s also a special page for the Year of Faith.
  2. Catholic News Service. This site is operated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and includes not lonely the latest news and information from Rome, but also movie reviews, videos and news briefs from around the world. Its Twitter feed is a great way to keep up with Catholic news.
  3. Byzcath.org. Looking for any news from the Byzantine world? Look no further. The site promises: “Here you will find news and general information about the Byzantine Catholic (Greek Catholic) and other Eastern Christian Churches.” It doesn’t disappoint. If you want, you can even find a parish.
  4. OCA.org. Like Byzcath, OCA is a terrific destination for all things related to one particular faith — in this case, Orthodoxy. For those who are curious, there’s a very good primer on the site that describes what Orthodoxy is, including some saints and common prayers.
  5. One-to-One. You’re here! Every day, we scan the wires for headlines from the places CNEWA serves, to bring you the latest and most interesting “Page One” items that we think will be useful to our readers. Be sure to bookmark our page and come back often! Check out our CNEWA homepage, too, which is updated with news items and links every day.



Tags: CNEWA Vatican Orthodox Byzantium

12 October 2012
Greg Kandra




Pope Benedict XVI exchanges the sign of peace with Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew during a Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 11 October to mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council. The Mass also opened the Year of Faith.
(CNS photo/Paul Haring)


Mass celebrating Vatican II highlight’s council’s openness to world (Catholic News Service) Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council with a Mass outdoors was a reminder of the fact that the council called the Catholic Church to live and work in the world, said Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz. “One of the things that was beautiful today was that we were outdoors, outside the beautiful Basilica of St. Peter, which is what I think John XXIII really wanted: to open the doors, to have the church in the world and transforming the world,” the bishop said Oct. 11. Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai told Catholic News Service that for Catholics in India the council’s teaching on interreligious dialogue “was extremely important and gave us a whole new perspective on how to deal with everybody else,” recognizing “that everybody is searching for the truth; we are brothers and sisters on the same journey.”

Holy See to participate in Istanbul World Forum this weekend (Vatican Radio) Within the phenomena of the Arab Revolutions, there is a meaningful and active search for justice, equality, representation and dignity. The Istanbul World Forum this weekend will address this issue of justice under various themes focusing on “Justice and the Construction of a New Global Order.” The Forum will take place in the Turkish capitol on October 13-14, 2012, gathering together political as well as religious leaders, academics and business persons, artists and media representatives to present Justice in the light of their particular professions delineated in 6 different thematic areas: Justice and the Global Order, Justice and Politics, Justice and History, Justice and Economy, Justice and Art, and Justice and Religion.

India court affirms freedom to pray at home (Fides) The freedom to carry out prayer meetings in private homes, of any religion, cannot be prevented, according to a ruling by the High Court of Madras, capital of the state of Tamil Nadu in South India.

U.S. stamp for Christmas shows Holy Family fleeing to Egypt (Catholic News Service) The U.S. Postal Service Oct. 10 released a Christmas stamp featuring an image of the Holy Family fleeing to Egypt. A ceremony to celebrate the first day of issue of the stamp took place at the Washington National Cathedral of the Episcopal Church. The portrayal of the Holy Family is a change from the traditional image of Madonna and child used almost every year since the first Christmas stamp was issued in 1962.



Tags: India Egypt Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Turkey

11 October 2012
Greg Kandra




In this 25 September 2005 photo, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald speaks at a conference in Rome on “Nostra Aetate,” the Second Vatican Council’s declaration on interreligious dialogue. (photo: CNS/Alessia Giuliani, Catholic Press Photo)

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II. In the current issue of ONE, we chat with Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, apostolic nuncio to Egypt, about the legacy of the council and, in particular, Catholic relations with Islam.

An excerpt:

ONE: One of the most significant documents the council produced remains “Nostra Aetate,” which addressed the Catholic Church’s relations with non-Christian religions. How would you assess its meaning and impact?

Archbishop Fitzgerald: “Nostra Aetate” has been a very significant document. It has, of course, to be considered in relation to “Dignitatis Humanae,” the declaration that affirms the right to religious liberty, and also to “Lumen Gentium,” the Dogmatic Constitution on the church. This constitution states that the nature of the church is comparable to that of a sacrament, in other words it is a sign and instrument of what God is doing to bring salvation to the whole of humanity. This is the basis for the church to reach out with great respect to the followers of different religions, conscious that the Holy Spirit is already active within their hearts and also within their religious traditions. This conviction leads to the statement that “the Catholic Church rejects nothing of what is true and holy in these religions” (NA 2). This does not signify by any means that the church considers all religions to be equal, since it believes that the fullness of revelation has been given in Jesus Christ. Yet the attitude of respect provides the grounds for dialogue and cooperation at the service of all members of the human race. This teaching, repeated and put into practice by the recent popes — Paul VI, Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI — has radically changed relations between Christians, especially Catholics, and the followers of other religions.

ONE: Among other things, this declaration addressed the church’s relationship with Islam. Half a century later, what has changed in that relationship? What has not?

Archbishop Fitzgerald: “Nostra Aetate” has a full paragraph on Islam. Its opening words came perhaps as a surprise to many: “The church has also a high regard for the Muslims.” It notes their strong belief in one God, their veneration for Jesus — although stating clearly that they do not acknowledge Jesus as God — the honor they give to Mary, the valuable practices of prayer, alms-giving and fasting. The declaration does not overlook the fact that “over the centuries many quarrels and dissensions have arisen between Christians and Muslims,” but makes a plea for the past to be forgotten and efforts to be made toward mutual understanding. If one looks back over the intervening years, it can be noticed that strong links have been established between Christian and Muslim groups. There are regular meetings both at the international and local levels.

Read it all.



Tags: Interreligious Christian-Muslim relations ONE magazine Interfaith Dialogue

11 October 2012
Greg Kandra




A priest reads in Arabic during Pope Benedict XVI’s weekly audience in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican on 10 October. Arabic made its debut as one of the official languages at the pope’s weekly audience as part of the Vatican’s attempt to reach out more to both Christians and Muslims in the Middle East. (photo: CNS/Max Rossi, Reuters)

Yesterday, history was made when the Vatican used Arabic as one of the official languages of the pope’s weekly audience for the first time. Details from Reuters:

Arabic made its debut as one of the official languages at Pope Benedict’s weekly general audiences on Wednesday as part of a Vatican attempt to reach out more to Christians and Muslims in the Middle East.

Vatican officials said that speaking Arabic during the audiences, which are broadcast live on television and radio across the world, would send a comforting word to Christians in a region which is home to many Christian holy places.

They also hope the pope addressing Muslims directly could improve sometimes strained relations with Islam.

A priest read a summary of the pope’s Italian language weekly address in Arabic for the first time, joining other briefs in Czech, English, French, German, Hungarian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Slovak and Spanish during the audience in front of thousands of people in St. Peter’s Square.

After the address, which dealt with the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council, the pope said in Arabic: “The pope prays for all people who speak Arabic. May God bless you all.”

The Vatican said the addition was made to show the pontiff’s concern for Christians in the Middle East and to remind both Muslims and Christians to work for peace in the region.



Tags: Middle East Christians Unity Interreligious Christian-Muslim relations Middle East Peace Process

11 October 2012
Greg Kandra




Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan of New York arrives for a Mass celebrated by Pope Benedict XVI in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican on 11 October. The Mass marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, as well as the beginning of the Year of Faith. (photo: CNS/Paul Haring)

Pope opens Year of Faith (CNS) On Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated a Mass marking the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and launching the Year of Faith. The pope called on Catholics to revive the “authentic spirit” of Vatican II by re-proposing the church's ancient teachings to an increasingly secular modern world. Vatican II, the Holy Father said, had been “animated by a desire ... to immerse itself anew in the Christian mystery so as to re-propose it fruitfully to contemporary man.” The full text of his homily can be found on the Vatican's news site.

Ecumenical patriarch speaks at Vatican II anniversary celebration (Vatican Radio) At the conclusion of the Mass to celebrate the anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople addressed Pope Benedict XVI and the bishops and faithful gathered in St. Peter’s Square. In his remarks, Patriarch Bartholomew — the “primus inter pares,” or “first among equals” in the Eastern Orthodox Communion — said he was honored to be invited and to attend “this solemn and festive commemoration of the Second Vatican Council.”

Pope prays for Middle East Christians in Arabic (Catholic News Agency) After his recent visit to the Church in Lebanon, Pope Benedict XVI added Arabic to the list of official languages used at his weekly general audiences, launching the effort by offering the promise of his prayers in Arabic. “The pope prays for all the people who speak Arabic. God bless you all,” he said in Arabic at the 10 October general audience, which was held in St. Peter’s Square. For the first time, a priest also read an Arabic summary of the pope’s remarks on how the Second Vatican Council was a “moment of grace” in the Catholic Church’s history. Going forward, Arabic will join the ten other official languages in which a brief explanation is delivered.

Turkey detains Syrian passenger plane (Vatican Radio) Turkey scrambled fighters and briefly detained a Syrian passenger plane yesterday, suspecting it of carrying military equipment from Moscow. The plane was on route to Damascus with 30 passengers on board when Turkish military fighter jets forced it to land at Ankara airport.

Russian Orthodox Church stakes out territory on social issues (The World) The reawakening of religion in Russia, 20 years after the end of the atheist Communist system, comes as the church tries to find a new place and relevance in Russian society.



Tags: Syria Pope Benedict XVI Vatican Turkey Russian Orthodox Church

10 October 2012
Greg Kandra




In this image from 16 October 2011, Coptic Christians conduct a candlelight protest at Abassaiya Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, one week after more than two dozen people were killed during clashes with soldiers and riot police. (photo: CNS/stringer via Reuters)

Thousands march to remember killing of Egypt Copts (Associated Press) Several thousand Egyptians marched for miles through Cairo on Tuesday, marking the year anniversary of a military crackdown on Christian protesters that killed 26 people and demanding retribution against army leaders they hold responsible for the deaths. Muslim clerics, Christian priests, activists and liberal former lawmakers joined the procession, filling large boulevards to memorialize the “Maspero massacre,” referring to the name of the state TV building overlooking the Nile River where the violence took place a year ago.

In Syria, “humanitarian emergency increases” (Fides) As the conflict continues, “humanitarian crisis increases more and more: although we do our best, we are not able to meet all the needs of refugees. We urgently need other humanitarian aid.” That is how the lay Catholic Pascal Kateb, secretary general of Caritas Syria, describes the situation in Syria to Fides.

Warm welcome for Apostolic Nuncio in Malyankara (Indian Express/IBN) Malyankara is the place where the light of Christianity was ignited first, and it has to glow brightly shedding the light all over the world, said Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Dr. Salvatore Pennacchio to the believers while visiting the St. Thomas Pilgrim Center at Malyankara on Monday. The Mar Thoma Pontifical Shrine, at the Pilgrim Center, is a monument to St. Thomas situated at Marthoma Nagar at Kodungallur.

Some Russian Orthodox call for closing gay clubs in Moscow (The Moscow Times) A group of Russian Orthodox believers on Monday called for the closure of all gay clubs in Moscow as part of the drive to ban the promotion of homosexuality. The People’s Council, a nationalist Orthodox organization, said in a statement that homosexuality is “a grave sin” and that it was seeking to close gay clubs that “entice fragile members of society into the gay community,” Interfax reported.

Christians show love of Israel in Jerusalem (Huffington Post) The mainstream news media can leave the average Israeli with the impression that much of the world has hostile, hateful feelings towards the Jewish state or, at the very least, does not want to be friends. It gets a little lonely at times in the Middle East. But there was love in the air of Jerusalem this past Thursday afternoon. Marching through the streets of Jerusalem, approximately 6,000 Christian friends of Israel made their way with flags and smiles, which they readily shared with Israeli bystanders — from secular to ultra-orthodox Jews of all ages and backgrounds. Israeli Tourism Minister Stas Misezhnikov welcomed the Christian visitors, who were led by evangelical Protestant community leaders visiting from across the world to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles, the Christian celebration of the seven-day Jewish holiday of Sukkot.



Tags: Syria India Egypt Violence against Christians Israel

9 October 2012
Greg Kandra




Rubble runs up to the foot of the altar inside a church damaged during shelling in Homs, Syria, on 5 October. (photo: CNS/Shaam News Network,  handout via Reuters)

Fighting intensifies in Homs, church damaged (The Guardian) Homs could fall at any moment as the Syrian army takes street after street, a resident of the central Hamidiya district told the Guardian. Khalid Majied said the Free Syrian Army was doing little to help civilians and appeared to be on the verge of pulling out of the city.

Arabic to become a part of the pope’s general audience (VIS) Beginning on Wednesday 10 October, during the Holy Father’s weekly general audience, an Arabic speaker will join the other speakers who provide a summary of the papal catechizes in various different languages. In this way, in the wake of his recent trip to Lebanon and the publication of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation “Ecclesia in Medio Oriente,” the Holy Father intends to express his perpetual concern and support for Christians in the Middle East, and to remind everyone of their duty to pray and work for peace in the region.

Patriarch Gregory III: “May the Year of Faith be the Year of Reconciliation” (Fides) “May the Year of Faith be for Syria the Year of Reconciliation: [this] is the hope of Christians and all the Syrian people.” This is what the Melkite patriarch of Damascus, Gregory III Laham, now in the Vatican to attend the Synod on the New Evangelization, declared in an interview with Fides on the eve of the opening of the Year of Faith. “We Christians in the Middle East,” Patriarch Gregory III explains of the Greek Catholic community that in Syria has over 150,000 faithful, “feel an integral part of the Arab world and in this moment of difficulty, problems, fear, we have greater need to strengthen our faith: to be bearers of the Gospel.”

Catholic bishops of the Holy Land offer guidance on living the Year of Faith (Fides) In a newly published pastoral letter, the Assembly of Bishops of the Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land offers its contribution to the itinerary that the universal church is called to fulfill in the Year of Faith. The pastors of the Catholic churches in the region, citing Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation, remind everyone: “The example of the first community of Jerusalem can serve as a model to renew the current Christian community.”

Kerala Catholics prepare to begin Year of Faith (Asian Age) The Year of Faith beginning in Catholic Church on Thursday will see faithful in the state joining others across the world for special prayers in homes and churches. Though the Catholic Church in Kerala does not expect a situation like that in Europe, where church attendance is in alarming decline, it still is keen on the yearlong stress on reaffirming faith.

Tom Hanks to be featured on posters promoting Christianity in Russia (Hollywood Reporter) Tom Hanks will appear on posters promoting Orthodox Christianity in Russia and neighboring states alongside prominent local cultural and sports figures. The Russian Orthodox youth movement Soboryane said it is launching a massive poster campaign during a missionary event entitled “My Pravoslavnye” (“We Are Orthodox Christians”) on 13 and 14 October in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.



Tags: Syria Middle East Christians Pope Benedict XVI Kerala Russian Orthodox Church

5 October 2012
Greg Kandra




Pope Benedict XVI attends a ceremony and signing of his apostolic exhortation on the Middle East at the Melkite Catholic Basilica of St. Paul in Harissa, Lebanon, on 14 September.
(CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)


As we noted in our Page One headlines this morning, the Holy Father’s exhortation on the Church in the Middle East is being widely circulated in that part of the world.

Pope Benedict XVI had a lot to say to the people of the Middle East on a range of topics. Here are five subjects (among many) worth noting, as expressed in the pope’s own words:

  1. The four pillars of the early church. “According to Acts, the unity of believers was seen in the fact that ‘they devoted themselves to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers’ (2:42). The unity of believers was thus nourished by the teaching of the Apostles (the proclamation of God’s word), to which they responded with unanimous faith, by fraternal communion (the service of charity), by the breaking of the bread (the Eucharist and the sacraments), and by prayer, both personal and communal. It was on these four pillars that communion and witness were based within the first community of believers. May the Church which has lived uninterruptedly in the Middle East from apostolic times to our own day find in the example of that community the resources needed to keep fresh the memory and the apostolic vitality of her origins!” (paragraph 5)
  2. Peace. “Peace is not simply a pact or a treaty which ensures a tranquil life, nor can its definition be reduced to the mere absence of war. According to its Hebrew etymology, peace means being complete and intact, restored to wholeness. It is the state of those who live in harmony with God and with themselves, with others and with nature. Before appearing outwardly, peace is interior. It is blessing. It is the yearning for a reality. Peace is something so desirable that it has become a greeting in the Middle East” (cf. Jn 20:19; 1 Pet 5:14). (9)
  3. Ecumenism. “[The Church in the Middle East] lives there in a remarkable variety of forms. Along with the Catholic Church, a great number of venerable Churches and Ecclesial Communities of more recent date are present in the Middle East. This mosaic demands a significant and continued effort to build unity in respect for the riches of each, and thus to reaffirm the credibility of the proclamation of the Gospel and Christian witness. Unity is a gift of God which is born of the Spirit and which must be cultivated with patient perseverance (cf. 1 Pet 3:8-9). We know that it is tempting, whenever our divisions make themselves felt, to appeal to purely human criteria, forgetting the sage counsel of Saint Paul (cf. 1 Cor 6:7-8). He entreats us: ‘Be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace’ (Eph 4:3). Faith is the centre and the fruit of true ecumenism. Faith itself must first be deepened. Unity is born of constant prayer and the conversion which enables each of us to live in accordance with the truth and in charity (cf. Eph 4:15-16). The Second Vatican Council encouraged this ‘spiritual ecumenism’ which is the soul of true ecumenism.” (11)
  4. Religious freedom. “Religious freedom is the pinnacle of all other freedoms. It is a sacred and inalienable right. It includes on the individual and collective levels the freedom to follow one’s conscience in religious matters and, at the same time, freedom of worship. It includes the freedom to choose the religion which one judges to be true and to manifest one’s beliefs in public. It must be possible to profess and freely manifest one’s religion and its symbols without endangering one’s life and personal freedom. Religious freedom is rooted in the dignity of the person; it safeguards moral freedom and fosters mutual respect. Jews, with their long experience of often deadly assaults, know full well the benefits of religious freedom. For their part, Muslims share with Christians the conviction that no constraint in religious matters, much less the use of force, is permitted. Such constraint, which can take multiple and insidious forms on the personal and social, cultural, administrative and political levels, is contrary to God’s will. It gives rise to political and religious exploitation, discrimination and violence leading to death. God wants life, not death. He forbids all killing, even of those who kill” (cf. Gen 4:15-16; 9:5-6; Ex 20:13).
  5. Women. “The first creation account shows the essential equality of men and women (cf. Gen 1:27-29). This equality was damaged by the effects of sin (cf. Gen 3:16; Mt 19:4). Overcoming this legacy, the fruit of sin, is the duty of every human person, whether man or woman. I want to assure all women that the Catholic Church, in fidelity to God’s plan, works to advance women’s personal dignity and equality with men in response to the wide variety of forms of discrimination which they experience simply because they are women. Such practices seriously harm the life of communion and witness. They gravely offend not only women but, above all, God the Creator. In recognition of their innate inclination to love and protect human life, and paying tribute to their specific contribution to education, healthcare, humanitarian work and the apostolic life, I believe that women should play, and be allowed to play, a greater part in public and ecclesial life. In this way they will be able to make their specific contribution to building a more fraternal society and a Church whose beauty is ever more evident in the genuine communion existing among the baptized.”

There is much more, of course, stretching across 100 paragraphs. We’ll have more from this important document in the next edition of the magazine. Meantime, you can read the exhortation in its entirety online.

CNEWA president Msgr. John Kozar was in Lebanon during the pope’s trip last month. You can read his account of that visit here.



Tags: Lebanon Middle East Pope Benedict XVI





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