Syriac Catholic bishops are gathering for their annual synod June 20-25 in Lebanon. Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan (center) presided. (CNS Photo/Syriac Catholic Patriarchate)
BEIRUT (CNS) – Although security problems in the Middle East have diminished in recent years, the remaining challenges “are becoming more complex, because we have entered a tunnel whose darkness has not yet subsided”, said said Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignatius Joseph III Younan. Syriac Catholic bishops of the world.
The patriarch said an atmosphere of “anxiety and bewilderment about the future” clouded the atmosphere because “living conditions have deteriorated”.
“But we remain a people of hope in the Lord Jesus and in his life-giving word,” the patriarch said as he opened the June 20-25 synod.
In their final statement, the Syriac Catholic bishops said they spoke of “the suffering of their children due to harsh conditions, persecution, acts of violence, terrorism, displacement, killing and destruction, and the uprooting of many” of their followers from the land of their ancestors.
Regarding “the catastrophe” in Lebanon, the Bishops denounced the suffering of the Lebanese people amid “the frightening political, security, economic, financial and social crises they are going through.” With the ongoing political crisis and the explosion of a bomb in Lebanon in 2020, the Lebanese economy has collapsed and nearly 90% of Lebanese now live in poverty.
The bishops expressed their satisfaction with the election of the new Lebanese government on May 15 and the appointment of a new prime minister on June 23, and called on all those responsible “to work to lessen the pain of the citizens, the majority of whom now languish below”. the poverty line, and to carry out the necessary reforms and to implement the economic recovery plan” as well as to restore the confidence of the International Monetary Fund.
The bishops also called for the election of a new president of Lebanon within the constitutional deadline, in order to avoid a presidential vacancy and a constitutional vacuum. President Michel Aoun’s mandate expires in October.
The Syriac Catholic Bishops lamented “the deteriorating economic situation in Syria and the growing rate of poverty, unemployment and suffering” and expressed hope that officials would work together to rebuild their country. They also demanded the lifting of sanctions against the Syrian people.
The European Union, United States, Arab League, Switzerland, Canada and Australia have imposed sanctions on Syria for various reasons, including terrorism and what they see as a crackdown on Syrian citizens.
The bishops addressed the exodus of Syriacs, especially from Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, and their growing numbers in the countries they are heading to – in Europe, the Americas and Australia. Although the faithful are now living “their national human rights,” the Bishops said, “they face the challenge of preserving their faith and the heritage of their parents and grandparents.”
“We feel our common responsibility and the urgent need to continue to serve the displaced spiritually, pastorally and socially,” the Syriac Catholic Bishops have said and thus discussed the urgent need to provide missionary priests and prepare seminarians. They designated the third Sunday after Easter as a day of prayer for priestly and monastic vocations.