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Crises in the Middle East: Canadian Church leaders write to the Prime Minister

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Smith_Richard-2012(CCCB – Ottawa)… The leaders of all the 24 member Churches of the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC), including the Most Reverend Richard Smith, Archbishop of Edmonton and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), have signed a joint letter to the Right Honourable Stephen Harper about the ongoing crises in the Middle East. In their letter, the Church leaders express their concerns about the humanitarian tragedy in Syria, the efforts toward a democratic transition in Egypt, the unresolved Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and rising tensions within and among the countries in the region.

Also among the signatories is the Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak, O.S.B.M., Ukrainian Catholic Archbishop of Winnipeg and Metropolitan of the country’s Ukrainian Catholics. The Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canada, as well as the CCCB, are two of the 24 members of the Canadian Council of Churches, which includes Churches and ecclesial communities from all the country’s major Christian traditions. 

In their five-pages letter, the leaders of the CCC member Churches express their gratitude for the contributions the Government of Canada has made to alleviate the needs of people in the Middle East through multilateral and civil society channels, and its record of advocating for human rights for all people. They also make the following requests to the Prime Minister and the Government of Canada:

  • To respond robustly and generously to the pressures and tensions experienced by displaced peoples and by the host countries in the region that provide refuge;
  • To lead in the protection of human rights in the region, with special attention to the rights of children, women and minority groups, including Christians;
  • To hold firm to the obligation for all state and non-state actors to respect international law, particularly in situations of armed conflict; and
  • To assist in the efforts of the Churches to work with local peacemakers and those providing humanitarian assistance in the region.

Link to the letter (PDF)

Last Updated on Wednesday, May 22 2013  
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On January 13th 2010, Most Reverend Vincent Nguyen became Canada’s first Catholic Bishop of East Asian descent. He is the great-grandson of a Vietnamese Martyr.