By Carmen Elena Villa
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- In regions where Christians are considered non-citizens, a witness to Christ and Gospel values is essential, not only for a present renewal but also for a better future.
This was the suggestion made today by the secretary-general of the synod of bishops, Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, in a press conference to present the outline of the October synod on the Middle East.
The three-chapter document considers the aim of the synod and, as is customary, offers questions for consideration that will be used to prepare the synod's working document.
One of the key issues taken up in the lineamenta, according to Archbishop Eterovic, is the relationship with Islam.
"Sadly, because of the lack of distinction between religion and politics, in practice Christians are often considered in a position of non-citizenship," he said. In this context, it is necessary "to be witnesses of Christ and of the values of the Gospel in all sectors of personal, family and public life. Hence, "the testimony of life of Christians as leaven of a renewed society is essential for the present and future of the Middle East."
The document also looks at the ongoing problem of a Christian exodus from the Holy Land.
Archbishop Eterovic noted how this exodus results in a weakening of the whole society.
Christians in this part of the world "support with their prayer and concrete aid endeavors their brethren of the Middle East, cradle of Christianity, as also of the other two monotheistic religions: Judaism and Islam," he affirmed.
And besides prayer and charity, the prelate contended that Christianity has another contribution for the conflict-plagued region: hope.
"Christian hope, born in the Holy Land, has encouraged the faithful for 2,000 years," he said. "Also today, even in the midst of difficulties and challenges, it continues to be, for Christians and men of good will, an inexhaustible source of faith, charity and the joy of being witnesses of the risen Lord Jesus, present in the midst of the community of his disciples."
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