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  Catholic Social Teaching in the Middle East


A Seminar on Catholic Social Teaching which gathered representatives from the Catholic Church and Caritas Organizations from the Middle East took place in Fuheis, Jordan on December 16-18, 2009. It was a first of its kind in the MONA region. Organized by Caritas Jordan, in coordination with Caritas MONA and CRS, and sponsored by the Patriarch Fuad Twal, the event experienced a high participation rate from the Catholic Hierarchy including the Apostolic Nuncio, in addition to Social and Educational Institutions from Jordan, Jerusalem, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, and Egypt.

The opening session, with speeches by Patriarch Twal, Mrs. Huda Muasher, Caritas Jordan Chairperson, Att. Joseph Farah, Caritas MONA president, and Mr. Mark Schnellbaecher, CRS EME Regional Director, gave this meeting just the right pitch. This seminar was co-moderated by Fr. Paul Karam, Director of the Pontifical Missions Societies in Lebanon and Mr. Joseph Hastings from Catholic Relief Services, and featured a number of prominent speakers in the subject including Msgr.

Antoine Audo, Chaldean Bishop of Aleppo, Dr. Amer Al-Hafy, Professor in Religion Comparison at the University of Al-albayt in Amman, and Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, and a board member of Catholic Relief Services (CRS). The presentations covered various topics ranging from the papal encyclicals “Deus Caritas Est” and “Caritas in Veritate”; to themes such as “Forming a People of Peace”, “Parish Social Ministry”, Justice, Dignity, Solidarity, and the “Added Value of Collaboration between Faith-Based Organizations”; as well as practical issues related to management and auditing of social development projects.

Open discussions made room for rich sharing of experiences, lessons learned, and challenges; this is but a first step in a long journey of improved collaboration and enhanced coordination among these institutions for higher education and deeper implementation of Catholic Social Teaching among the Christian Community in the war-stricken, justice-craving Middle East. This goal will definitely be the topic of discussion in future meetings that are yet to come.









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