From CNS Rome correspondent Cindy Wooden, traveling with the pope in Cyprus:
By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service
NICOSIA, Cyprus (CNS) — Presenting the working document for the special Synod of Bishops on the Middle East, Pope Benedict XVI prayed for “just and lasting solutions” to the region’s conflicts, which cause so much hardship.
“I reiterate my personal appeal for an urgent and concerted international effort to resolve the ongoing tensions in the Middle East, especially in the Holy Land, before such conflicts lead to greater bloodshed,” the pope said June 6 at the end of a Mass in a Nicosia sports arena.
The pope gave the document to representatives from the Latin-rite, Maronite, Melkite, Armenian, Coptic, Chaldean and Assyrian Catholic Churches living in countries from Egypt to Iran.
The synod will be held at the Vatican Oct. 10-24 and focus on “communion and witness” in the region where Christianity was born, but where Christians are a minority.
Pope Benedict told the region’s Catholics that the synod would be an occasion “to highlight the important value of the Christian presence and witness in the biblical lands, not just for the Christian community around the world, but also for your neighbors and fellow citizens.”