Final Statement of the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land
26 September 2018
AMMAN – The meeting, chaired by His Excellency, Archbishop George Bacouni, was held at the Archeparchial seat of the Greek Catholic Melkite Archeparchy in Amman on September 25-26, with the participation of the Catholic Ordinaries, from Jordan, Palestine, Israel and Cyprus, and two representatives of the Episcopal Committee of Religious Men and the Union of Women Religious of the Holy Land, in the presence of Archbishop Alberto Ortega, Apostolic Nuncio to Jordan and Iraq and of Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli, Apostolic Nuncio to Israel and Cyprus and Apostolic Delegate to Jerusalem and Palestine.
1- The Bishops welcomed and prayed with large numbers of the faithful present at the Holy Mass celebrated at the Greek Catholic parish of Umm Al Summaq, Amman on the occasion of the International Day of Peace.
2- H.E. Archbishop Alberto Ortega presented to the Ordinaries the situation of the Church in Jordan. Relations with the government are very good. The Church enjoys freedom of worship and maintains a good relationship with the government. He mentioned the special role of the King in the political stability of this country despite the lack of security in neighboring countries.
3- H.E. Archbishop Leopoldo Girelli spoke of the relations between the Holy See and the State of Israel and between the Holy See and State of Palestine, and especially the ongoing negotiations with Israel concerning the implementation of the agreements already signed.
4- The bishops extend greetings to the Synod Fathers who will meet soon in Rome from October 3-28, on the theme “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment” and ask that our clergy and our faithful support their work through prayer.
5- Fr. Rafic Nahra, Patriarchal Vicar for Hebrew-Speaking Catholics in Israel and Vicar for Migrants and Asylum Seekers in Israel, spoke of the joys and challenges of migrant pastoral care and expressed the desire for pastoral co-ordination with Cyprus and Jordan, both countries hosting thousands of foreign workers.
6- Fr. Jerzy Kraj, explaining chapter 8 of the Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris Laetitia”, spoke of divorced and remarried couples seeking Eucharistic communion. He used the statement of the bishops of Argentina who ask pastors to welcome these couples, accompany them, discern their situation and try to integrate them into their parishes so that they live their faith in an intense way.
7- In the presence of Fr. Jihad Shweihat, president of the ecclesiastical tribunal of Amman, the bishops evaluated the first fruits of the motu proprio of September 8, 2015, “Mitis Iudex Dominus Jesus” for the Roman Catholic Church and “Mitis et misericors Iesus” for the Oriental Catholic Churches, on the new procedural norms pertaining to the shorter process of marriage nullity cases, reserved to the bishop. He emphasized the increase in the number of marriage nullity applications, a recent phenomenon that prompts the need for better preparation for the reception of the sacrament of matrimony. The bishops recommend making obligatory the preparatory session, which consists of preparing for marriage and awakening faith in those who have lost it.
8- The bishops appreciated the presentation made by the Caritas team in Jordan regarding its work with the poor and destitute in Jordan and especially with the Iraqi and Syrian refugees. The bishops want donors to continue supporting poor Iraqi students studying in our schools. It is deserves to be mentioned that this initiative has been generously supported by the Italian Bishops’ Conference for the last three years.
The next meeting of the Assembly of Bishops is scheduled to gather in Tiberias between March 12-13, 2019.