Here below is a letter from the Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions on Thursday, February 14, thanking Pope Benedict XVI for his interest and concern for their countries and for his “incessant appeals for peace.”
The Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions learned with surprise and amazement of your decision to renounce the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, Successor of the Apostle Peter. With humility and simplicity, you have renounced the Petrine ministry because of your deep love for the Church.
You have given us the example of a humble servant who knows how to deliver the so-beloved vineyard to a winemaker more vigorously.
The Churches of which we are pastors, are embedded in the great mosaic of the Christian presence in the Middle East. By the grace of God and the confidence of the Holy See, we are today responsible for the faithful of the Latin Rite, native or immigrants or refugees in our region that covers 23 different countries. The richness of our dioceses and apostolic vicariates is located in the growing number of Christians, in their zeal and commitment to building a living community in the Arab region. For us, to live “communion and witness” is a necessity.
We, the Latin Bishops of the Arab Regions, reiterate all our gratitude for the Post-Synodal Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, the result of the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Middle East in 2010. It is a roadmap that reminds each of us, bishops, priests and faithful, of your desire: Try to live together respectfully and in fraternal communion with each other, in love and mutual esteem, to witness credibly your faith … (EMO 36)
We thank you profoundly for the interest you have shown to our countries and for the incessant appeals for peace in our distressed region, for the cessation of the fighting between brothers and to find solutions for a just and lasting reconciliation.
Always, we count on your prayers, that we may allow ourselves be led by the Holy Spirit to strengthen even more the communion and unity among us. On our part, we promise you our faithful closeness in prayer and love, and wish you peace and serenity in your retirement.
+ Fouad TWAL
Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem
+ Paul DAHDAH
Latin Vicar Apostolic of Beirut
+ Jean SLEIMAN
Latin Archbishop of Baghdad
+ Giorgio BERTIN
Bishop of Djibouti
Apostolic Administrator of Mogadishu
+ Paul HINDER
Apostolic Vicar of Southern Arabia
+ Camillo BALLIN
Apostolic Vicar of Northern Arabia
+ Adel ZAKI
Latin Apostolic Vicar of Alexandria
+ Maroun LAHHAM
Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jordan
+ Giacinto Boulos MARCUZZO
Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Israel
+ William SHOMALI
Latin Patriarchal Vicar for Jerusalem and Palestine
Rev. David NEUHAUS, S.J.
Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew-speaking Catholics
P. Peter Felet, S.C.J.