Vatican surveys Middle East Christians


ROME (JTA) — The Vatican is conducting a survey of Christians in the Middle East, which includes political questions, ahead of a synod of bishops.

The 32-question survey was sent to all Catholic dioceses in the region, and responses will form the basis of the October synod’s working document.

Questions deal with issues of personal faith and religious practice, but also look at political issues, including the impact of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, the restriction of religious freedom in Muslim countries, and "what can be done to stop or slow the emigration of Christians" from the region.

Relations with Jews and Muslims also are addressed.

"How should we regard our relations with Judaism as a religion?" one question reads. Another asks, "How can peace and the end of political conflict be promoted?"

Referring to Muslim countries, one question asks, "How can respect for freedom of religion and freedom of conscience be increased?" Finally, one simply asks, "Why are we afraid of the future?"

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