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Intervention of Card. Jean-Louis TAURAN, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue (VATICAN CITY)

The Special Assembly for the Middle East of the Synod of Bishops represents a chance and a challenge!
A chance, because it should lead to better understanding:
- that the unresolved conflicts in the region are not caused by religious reasons, testifying to this is the presence among us of representatives of Judaism and of Islam;
- the urgency for a three-way reflection (Jews, Christians and Muslims) on the place of religions in the Middle Eastern societies.
A challenge, to supply to Middle Eastern Christians concrete orientations:
- let us not be shy in reclaiming not only freedom of worship, but also religious freedom: society and State should neither fore a person to act against their conscience, nor hinder them from acting according to their conscience

- invest more in schools and universities followed by Christians and Muslims: they are indispensable laboratories of co-existence.
- Let us ask ourselves if we are doing enough, on the level of local Churches to encourage our Christians to stay: housing, tuition, healthcare. We cannot expect everything from others...
A suggestion
The promotion of Arab-Christian literature could play a role in the dialogue between Christians and Muslims, especially in its cultural dimension (no. 96), we should at least teach this in our schools, in parallel with Arabic literature.

[00159-02.02] [IN105] [Original text: French]


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