Fr. Bader: Patriarchs of the Orient laud Hashemite custodianship of the Holy Places

Fr. Bader: Patriarchs of the Orient laud Hashemite custodianship of the Holy Places

By Fr. Rif'at Bader-Director of CCSM in Jordan

The Catholic Patriarchs of the Orient concluded their 25th session in Lebanon on August 11 and issued a statement made public by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in Jordan.

CCSM Director Fr. Rif'at Bader said that the Catholic patriarchs have highly valued the role of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in resolving the recent crisis in defence of the freedom of worshippers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque as well as the role of the Hashemite custodianship of His Majesty King Abdullah II of the Islamic and Christian holy places in Jerusalem.

Fr.Bader added that the meetings were held in Lebanon under the slogan of "Hope and Steadfastness" and that the patriarchs, representing the six major patriarchates in the Middle East, have valued the dear Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan's hosting of the forcibly displaced Syrians and Iraqis. They concluded their statement by saying:"We pray that Jordan will remain an oasis of security and peace for its people and a model for coexistence between Muslims and Christians to be emulated," they concluded.

The Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the Orient held its conference on August 9-11 at the summer headquarters of the Maronite Patriarchate. It reviewed the ecclesiastical and political situations in the Middle East and the solutions to be adopted in the face of the challenges facing the Christians as a result of the political, social and economic conditions, as well as their stay in their countries as indigenous citizens.

On the situation in the Palestinian territories, the statement said: "We are following with great interest the suffering of the Palestinian people as they seek to determine their fate and regain their sovereignty on their land. Among the daily harassment to which they are exposed is having the Jerusalemites' identity cards revoked, lack of family reunification procedures, continued settlement construction, and land confiscation. We know that the economic and security situation has led to the emigration of many of our Christian children from Palestine, yet the Holy Land needs their presence, even if sacrifices are to be made in order to reach a political solution in which Jerusalem becomes the capital of two peoples and a holy city open to all.

At the conference, which was attended by the Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan Bishop William Shomali, representation the Latin Patriarchate, the patriarchs expressed their pain over the emigration of Christians from their lands of origin in the Middle East and appealed to the international community to stop wars in Syria, Iraq and Palestine. They added in their statement: "The continued inability to establish a just, comprehensive, and durable peace in the region as well as neglecting the issue relevant to the return of refugees and forcibly displaced people to their homelands and properties with dignity and justice is a disgrace in the 21st century."

The Patriarchs of the Orient said: "We must uphold the duty to proclaim truth with love, and to courageously affirm the legitimacy of separation of religion on the one hand from state and public affairs in the constitutions of our homelands, where all are equal in rights and duties, regardless of religion or sect. This is a necessary condition for giving reassurances to Christians and other small components in our country.

Fr. Bader said: The Council of Catholic Patriarchs of the Orient includes the Maronite, Chaldean, Latin, Armenian, Syriac, Coptic Catholic and Roman Catholics patriarchs. Their beatitudes the patriarchs decided to hold their next conference at the Chaldean Patriarchate in Irbil, Iraq, in 2018, to be the guests of Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphaël I Sako under the slogan "Youths Are a Sign of Hope in the Middle East Countries."

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