Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Middle Eastern Synod's Finale

This blog post at Hot Air quotes a Melkite Greek bishop from Lebanon, Cyril Salim Bustros:

The Holy Scriptures cannot be used to justify the return of Jews to Israel and the displacement of the Palestinians, to justify the occupation by Israel of Palestinian lands… We Christians cannot speak of the ‘promised land’ as an exclusive right for a privileged Jewish people. This promise was nullified by Christ. There is no longer a chosen people – all men and women of all countries have become the chosen people… Even if the head of the Israeli state is Jewish, the future is based on democracy… The Palestinian refugees will eventually come back and this problem will have to be solved.

The blogger, a protestant, then goes on to discuss the uproar over the quote and talk about about the Catholic Church's position. Go read it all. But this is an interesting paragraph where the blogger puts together some information on the Melkite Church:

Readers may remember that the Patriarch of the Melkite Greek Catholic Church was the individual issuing blessings for the “all-woman” flotilla planned throughout the summer to depart from Lebanon for a bout of anti-Israel blockade-busting. The Patriarch himself is located in Antioch, but there has been a very troubling trend of anti-Israel politicization in the recent appointments in Beirut and Galilee as well. Bustros’ selection for the metropolitan position in Beirut this year followed the selection in 2006 of Archbishop Elias Chacour for the diocesan seat in Galilee. As this French writer recounts (I apologize that this is only available in French), the 2006 choice amounted to a referendum within the Melkite Greek Catholic episcopate on the question of whether to promote clerics who take political stands against Israel, or to affirm that the church’s future lies with less politicized leaders who are more devoted to ministry, reconciliation, and service. The ultimate choice of Chacour produced a tireless campaigner for the active and urgent repudiation of Israel’s state policies by American and European churches.

Links are all from the original. In the very next paragraph, the blogger, Mr. Dyer, throws out this admonishment:

The Catholic Church’s high profile in much of the Middle East, and its organized connections with Middle Eastern Christians, give its policies a unique significance in defining the posture and role of Christianity there. The Church, of all entities, should be the first and most insistent in affirming that – at the very least – political opposition to Israel is not a condition of loving our neighbors as ourselves. No nation on earth is a principal in such a repellent contingency; singling out Israel in this regard is awful darn particular and obviously motivated by obsession.

The apostolic exhortation will most likely as the blogger hopes avoid any hostile statements toward Israel. The Williamson affair will ensure that (we hope). But it should always be remembered the... dislike the Secretariat of State has for Israel on the Palestinian issue. The Melkite hierarchy isn't alone in its thinking in Rome.

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