CWNews.com - The Synod of Bishops for the Middle East is nearing its conclusion, with votes scheduled tomorrow—Saturday, October 23—on the final propositions to be presented to Pope Benedict XVI.

The Synod’s delegated leaders—the relator general and the reporters for each of the smaller discussion groups—met on Friday morning, October 22, to go over amendments that were suggested from the floor when the propositions were introduced at a plenary session. With the amendments incorporated, the final list of propositions will be submitted to a vote on Saturday.

The Synod’s propositions are submitted to the Pope, for use in the apostolic exhortation with which he will conclude the work of the Synod. Traditionally these propositions are not made public, since they are intended for the Pope’s consideration. In the past, however, Pope Benedict has authorized their publication.

The list of 41 propositions presented to the Synod on October 21 emphasized the critical importance of maintaining an active and apostolic Christian presence in the region. Toward that end the propositions call for stronger cooperation among the Eastern Catholic churches in the Middle East and a renewed dedication to ecumenical work with the other Christian bodies in the region. The propositions also deal in detail with questions involving inter-religious dialogue with Jews and Muslims, and the defense of religious liberty in lands where Christians are a minority.

Meeting later today, the Synod fathers are expected to approve a brief message from the assembly, which will be made public.

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