Church in Lebanon Seeks Greater Role for Laity

Follows Up on Synod Resolutions

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BEIRUT, Lebanon, MARCH 3, 2011 (Zenit.org).- The 24th proposition from last October's synod on the Middle East affirms that the synod fathers want lay people to have greater responsibility in the Church, being apostles at work and witnesses to Christ in the world.

The Church in Lebanon is trying to bring this about, according to a report from the Church there.

A meeting Feb 25. presided over by the apostolic nuncio, Archbishop Gabriele Giordano Caccia, gathered key bishops and a group of about 20 young laypeople to discuss this project.

The laity and their bishops considered the current situation of laypeople in Lebanon, within its particular context as a nest of diverse Christian traditions and interreligious dialogue.

Archbishop Caccia affirmed that the plurality of the Churches existing in Lebanon is a richness for the Church, and the collaboration between the Christian laypeople living in the seven Catholic Churches "sui iuris" in Lebanon is a necessity.

The nuncio spoke about the relationship between the other Christian Churches and communities in Lebanon (i. e. the Orthodox Church and Protestant groups) and he mentioned also the relationship with Muslims living in Lebanon side by side with Christians.

In this context, he recalled the March 25 feast of the Annunciation as a celebration common to Christians and Muslims, each honoring Mary according to their own tradition.

Archbishop Georges Aboujaoudé, president of the bishops' committee for the laity, noted how the Eastern Churches are not well known, despite being the cradle of Christianity.

He exhorted the youth to be fearless in affirming their role in building the Church and society in Lebanon. Echoing a point often mentioned at the synod, he insisted that Christians of Lebanon should not emigrate.

[Gabriela Maria Mihlig contributed to this report]