Synod: Solidarity with Middle East Christians

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The Catholic Church around the world needs to reach out to the churches in the Middle East and be a source of hope for its people, said Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto.

The archbishop suggested that bishops create twin dioceses to encourage and sustain each other as well as promote pilgrimages to the Middle East.

“Dioceses from far away cannot fundamentally affect the economic causes of emigration, but we can support local initiatives to increase employment,” he said in his address to the synod Oct. 14.

“Simply encouraging Christians from around the world to visit the Middle East despite the difficulties will benefit local communities as well as build bonds of communion to give hope to the Christians who live there,” he said.

Creating twin dioceses is one way to support the church in different parts of the world, he added.

“The prime goal is that Christians remain in the Middle East and not leave it,” he said.

Christians in the Middle East should be able to live in peace in the same lands they’ve lived in “since ancient times,” he said.

Minority Christians who are suffering can derive hope from this kind of “loving communion” with other members of the universal church, Archbishop Collins said.

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