Pope Benedict XVI concluded his three-day visit to Lebanon by releasing the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente – The Church in the Middle East. The document is the fruit of an international meeting of Bishops in Rome convened to discuss the region back in 2010.
The Catholics of the Middle East, the majority of whom are native citizens of their countries, have the duty and right to participate fully in national life, working to build up their country. They should enjoy full citizenship and not be treated as second-class citizens or believers.
As in the past when, as pioneers of the Arab Renaissance, they took full part in the cultural, economic and scientific life of the different cultures of the region, so too in our own day they wish to share with Muslims their experiences and to make their specific contribution. It is because of Jesus that Christians are sensitive to the dignity of the human person and to freedom of religion which is its corollary.
For love of God and humanity, thus honouring Christ’s two natures, and with eternal life in view, Christians have built schools, hospitals and institutions of every kind where all people are welcomed without discrimination (cf. Mt 25:31ff.). For these reasons, Christians are particularly concerned for the fundamental rights of the human person. It is wrong to claim that these rights are only “Christian” human rights. They are nothing less than the rights demanded by the dignity of each human person and each citizen, whatever his or her origins, religious convictions and political preferences.
Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, p23
You can read or download the post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Medio Oriente by clicking on the link in the top right-hand corner of this page.
Our section on the Holy Father’s three-day visit to Lebanon