Mideast bishops meeting in Rome


ROME (JTA) — The Israeli-Palestinian conflict and radical Islamism will be among the topics discussed at a special meeting of Middle East bishops.

The two-week Synod of Bishops of the Middle East opened Sunday at the Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI opened the unprecedented meeting with a special Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica.

The core issue at the synod, which ends Oct. 24, is the status and future of Christian communities in the Middle East — in Israel and Arab countries.

Participants include more than 170 Catholic bishops from Muslim countries, as well as other Church figures and non-Catholic representatives and experts.

Islamic and Jewish representatives also will address sessions, including Rabbi David Rosen, the director of interreligious affairs for the American Jewish Committee and an adviser to the Israeli Chief Rabbinate.

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