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     Home > Synod >  2010-10-17 13:40:07
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Intervention of Mons. Riccardo FONTANA, Archbishop of Arezzo-Cortona-San Sepolcro (ITALY)

I wish to express my thanks to the Holy Father who, in calling me to this Synod, has allowed me to take part in this precious aspect of Church life.
I have the honor of bringing to this assembly the greetings and spiritual nearness of the Italian Bishops. I love to refer in particular to numbers 54 and 59 of the Instrumentum Laboris and the reflection of paragraph A, second part, of the beautiful Relatio ante disceptationem.
There really is a great attention paid in our Italian Churches to the holy places. In the first six months alone of 2010, 1,600,000 pilgrims went to Palestine. In the name of my brother Bishops, I come to say to the Synod that we receive more in terms of spiritual life and the search for faith in favor of our pilgrims than we manage to give in terms of our solidarity.
Alongside traditional pilgrimages it is becoming increasingly common to go to the Holy Land in search of the Apostolica vivendi forma.
Great attention is paid in the Italian Church to the real suffering of the Palestinian people and that silent portion of Israeli Jews who do not accept, in the name of security, those discriminatory situations that unleash terrorism and violence.
The absolute poverty of Christians in the Holy Land and the Middle East has led to the birth in Italy of an ever-increasing number of charity projects. By way of an example, in the first five years of the Millennium, the Italian Bishops’ Conference financed projects in the area for over 25 million euros. To these must be added those of the religious institutes and the single dioceses.
We need to do more. We are repeatedly told that a large number of the decisions that might help the Churches of the Middle East are taken in the West. The Holy See with its diplomatic channels, we Bishops with the possibility to influence public opinion, could point out to our respective governments that Jerusalem and the various forms of Christianity in the Middle East are absolute priorities for all Christians. Among the fruits of this Synod we hope that the Western Churches will learn to what extent the Eastern Churches suffer. Letting something be known is the first step to finding a solution. Publicizing and opinion-forming is possible in the West and very useful for the common good.

[00139-02.04] [1N098] [Original text: Italian]


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