VATICAN CITY, JAN. 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The "lineamenta," or outline, for the October synod of bishops regarding the Middle East was released today by the Vatican.
The Oct. 10-24 synod has the theme "The Catholic Church in the Middle East: Communion and Witness. 'Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul'" (Acts 4: 32).
A pre-synodal council is preparing the synod. The council is composed of seven patriarchs -- those of the six sui iuris Eastern Catholic Churches and the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem. Four heads of Roman Curia dicasteries are also on the council.
The lineamenta was released in Arabic, English, French and Italian.
The text's introduction points out the main pastoral objectives of the synod: "to confirm and strengthen Christians in their identity through the Word of God and the sacraments and to deepen ecclesial communion among the particular Churches."
As customary, each part of the lineamenta is accompanied by questions. In total there are 32 and their purpose is to guide the reflection of the institutional recipients: the synods of bishops of the Eastern Catholic Churches (the episcopal conferences, the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the Union of Major Superiors) and to discuss the document's contents, applying the affirmations to the reality of the respective ecclesial entities.
The deadline for the answers of the ecclesial institutions is Easter, April 4, 2010, in order to publish the "Instrumentum Laboris," or working document, which Benedict XVI will give to representatives of the Eastern Catholic Churches during his June apostolic visit to Cyprus.
Because of the importance of the Holy Land for all Christians, the Instrumentum Laboris will also consider contributions from individuals, concerning in particular the spiritual and material support of Christians and of particular Churches of the Middle East.
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ZE10011908 - 2010-01-19