November 1, 2010

Two Syrian Catholic bishops living in Lebanon told the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East that the blossoming number of Catholic-Muslim dialogue projects has not and may never lead to real understanding.

But a retired Vatican nuncio who now lives in Lebanon urged synod members to increase dialogue and to find more practical ways to promote Catholic-Muslim cooperation, including by encouraging schools to have student bodies made up of both Catholic and Muslim youngsters.

The three focused on relations with Muslims in Lebanon in their written submissions to the synod.

Their statements differed significantly from most of the other synod members’ speeches on dialogue with Muslims in the Middle East.

The majority of synod members — and the two Muslims the pope invited to address the assembly — focused on progress in understanding and cooperation.