Pope Benedict XVI greeted members of the Synod of Bishops of the Greek Melkite Catholic Church at the Vatican on June 20 and urged them to try to unite Christians in the Middle East and to keep destructive speeches at all times.
C. Rubini CTC, Vatican News
Pope Francis on Monday greeted members of the Synod of Greek Melkite Bishops of the Antioch Patriarchate and extended special thanks to Patriarch Youssef Absik of Antioch.
The Holy Father began his sermon by referring to the bishops’ request to hold their annual meeting in Rome, where the tombs of the apostles St. Peter and Paul are located. The Pope said that we need their intercession and that the Christian community must have the courage to bear witness to the name of Christ, the author of our faith and the perfectionist of our faith in this day and age.
A vision for Syria
The pope pointed out that some of Peter’s descendants were born in Syria.
The pope pointed out that in recent months we have been turning our attention to the eastern part of Europe, but reminded us that this will make us forget what has been going on in their homeland for twelve years.
In his first year as pope, the pope recalled that many Muslims joined him on that night of prayer in St. Peter’s Square for their “beloved and persecuted Syria.”
“We must not allow the last spark of hope to be taken out of the eyes and hearts of young people and families! Papa clarified.
Testimony as a Church
Pope Francis asked the bishops of the Greek Melkite Church to ask themselves how they are fulfilling their testimony as a church. The pope said that heroic and generous testimony needs to be consecrated in the light of God in order to be purified and renewed at all times.
“You are a synod,” the pope told them. “They are recognized as a patriarchal church because of their character. The pope explained that they need to question existence and function.
Concerns about Christians in the Middle East
Speaking about Christians in the Middle East, the Pope stressed that he was genuinely concerned about their survival. Their plight is a challenge, on the other hand, “for decades, the presence of the Melkite Church has had a global dimension,” the pope said.
Pope Benedict XVI pointed out that many of the bishops are from different parts of the world, including Australia, the United States and Venezuela. Despite many obstacles, the pope asked them to be open to listening to the times and places where they are scattered in response to what God is asking their church today to be rooted in your own traditions and origins.
The woodworm of “lazy speech.”
The pope directed his thoughts to the Synod of Bishops in Rome and encouraged them to use their talents wisely.
The pope indicated that they would address the election of bishops and bishops of Emeritus, and requested that each member think carefully about it, pray to the Holy Spirit to enlighten them, and prepare well enough facts and information about the various candidates. The Holy Father also demanded that the mentality of partisanship and differences among the early monasteries be overcome.
Pope discourages bishops from “lazy speech”
Please, “If someone has something to say to someone else, look it in the face and say it with care.” Never speak ill of another, the pope explained, as a “worm that destroys the church.”
Emphasizing that “let us be brave and find true unity,” the pope blessed the synod of the Greek Melkite Church and consecrated bishops to the Blessed Virgin.