The heads of the Catholic Churches in the Holy Land have underlined the good relations maintained between the Kingdom’s churches and the Jordanian government, where Christians enjoy full freedom to perform religious rites. They also praised the pioneering role played by His Majesty King Abdullah II in ensuring political stability in Jordan despite the lack of security in neighboring countries.
This was reported during the sessions of the heads of the Churches at their biannual conference held in Amman on September 25- 26, 2018 at the Melkite Greek Catholic Church Vicariate in Amman, and chaired by Archbishop of the Greek Catholics in Haifa George Baquni with the participation of bishops from Jordan, Palestine, Israel and Cyprus in addition to Apostolic Nuncio to Iraq and Jordan Archbishop Alberto Ortega Martín and Apostolic Nuncio to Israel, Cyprus, and Jerusalem Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli.
In the final statement distributed by the Catholic Center for Studies and Media (CCSM) in Jordan on Thursday, September 27, 2018, the bishops drew attention to their participation in the Hoy Mass organized by Caritas Jordan marking the International Day of Peace. They also expressed their appreciation for Caritas’ charitable and humanitarian activities provided to the poor and the needy, especially with regards to the Iraqi and Syrian refugees. They also hoped that the donors would continue to support the poor Iraqi students attending Catholic schools, an initiative supported by the Council of Italian Bishops over the past three years.
CCSM Director Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader noted that, during their meeting, the bishops evaluated the outcome of “Mitis judex Dominus Jesus” regarding the shortest procedures to nullify marriages and the rise in the numbers of people seeking to nullify marriages, where President of the Ecclesiastical Court in Amman Father Jihad Shweihat stated that there is a rise in the numbers of requests seeking nullification of marriages which has become a remarkable phenomenon as it needs serious preparations by holding compulsory preparatory courses in various Churches.
Fr. Bader pointed out that the meetings dealt with the Synod of Bishops, that will meet in October in the Vatican to discuss the theme, “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment”. The discussions dealt as well with the pastoral care addressed to migrant workers which is supervised by Fr. Rafic Nahra, while Patriarchal Vicar for Cyprus. Fr. Jerzy Kraj spoke about Chapter 8 of the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia”, and referred to the challenges facing the families nowadays.
The CCSM director pointed out that the establishment of the Council of the Catholic Churches in the Holy Land was initiated by the Holy See representative in Jerusalem and that it includes in its membership bishops from various Catholic denominations who have spiritual mandate in the Holy Land, including Jordan, Palestine, Cyprus and Israel. The Council aims to promote unity within the Catholic Churches, to study common issues and challenges, as well as to encourage mutual cooperation and coordination for the good of the Church and the entire community. Pope John Paul II endorsed the Council system in 1992.
By: Fr. Dr. Rif’at Bader