Disseminating the culture of giving, promoting volunteerism and work for free, is considered as one of the most important objectives of the current Caritas Iraq's programme of volunteers. Credits: Caritas Iraq

Disseminating the culture of giving, promoting volunteerism and work for free, is considered as one of the most important objectives of the current Caritas Iraq’s programme of volunteers.
Credits: Caritas Iraq

Caritas says the upcoming Synod for the Middle East can help divided communities come together for the region’s poorest people. The Synod will take place in Rome from 10 to 24 October. It is the first synod dedicated specifically to the Middle East.

Church leaders will discuss problems ranging from the Israeli-Palestinian stand-off and conflict in Iraq, to radical Islamism, the economic crisis and the divisions among the region’s many Christian churches.

“The Synod presents an opportunity to assess the social, as well as the religious situation in the region,” said Lesley-Anne Knight, Secretary General of Caritas Internationalis.

“It can give Christians a clear vision of the significance of their presence in Muslim societies and their role and mission in the countries in which they live,” she said.

“It is urgent to find new ways to work towards peace in this troubled part of the world. This is of vital importance not only for the Middle East itself, but also for the peace and stability of the entire world which depends to a large degree on a solution to the conflicts that beset the region.”

Caritas will be represented at the Synod by Joseph Farah, President of Caritas MONA (Middle East and North Africa) as well as Naguib Khouzam of Caritas Egypt, and Huda Musher of Caritas Jordan.

Mr. Farah said, “The Middle East is a pluralistic region. This pluralism can even be found within the Catholic Church. There are Maronites, Syriacs, Greek, Armenian and Latin Catholics, Chaldeans and so on, and all those Churches have their own hierarchies and social organisations such as hospitals and schools.

“The cooperation between Churches and with other confessions needs to be strengthened. More efforts should be undertaken to develop partnerships for concrete action and engage in dialogue.”

Under the theme “The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness”, the Synod will aim to strengthen cooperation between the different Catholic communities, often dispersed and in the minority.

Caritas carries out humanitarian and development programmes in the Middle East, in particular in the fields of health and education, and stands up for peace and interreligious dialogue.

If you have a media request, please call Patrick Nicholson on + 39 334 359 0700 or email Nicholson@caritas.va