Pope to summon special synod on Middle East Catholic churches

1918-11-11.jpgPope Benedict XVI has said he plans to summon a special synod of bishops to discuss the Middle East in October next year.

He was speaking to Roman Catholic Church leaders from the region at Castel Gandolfo, his summer residence outside Rome, the Vatican said.
“I will not forget the call for peace you have put in my hands… and my thought go firstly to the regions of the Middle East”, the statement quoted the pontiff as saying.
“I am using this occasion therefore to announce the summoning of a synod of bishops for the Middle East which will take place from October 10 to 24”.
The theme of the conference will be “The Catholic Church in the Middle East: communion and witness”, he said.
In January, Louis Sako, the Chaldaean bishop of Kirkuk in Iraq, visited the pope and asked for a meeting to be called on the situation of minority Christians in countries including Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran.
Attacks on churches in Iraq in July left four dead and 32 injured.
During a visit to the Holy Land in May, the pope urged Christians not to flee the region and called for freedom to allow them to practice their religion.
The Middle East’s Uniate churches (i.e., those in communion with the Vatican) are those of the Armenian Catholics, Chaldaeans, Coptic Catholics, Greek Catholics, Maronites and Syriac Catholics.