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16 November-12 December 1997

"Encounter with the Living Jesus Christ,
the Way to Conversion, Communion and Solidarity in America"

The Bulletin of the Synod of Bishops is only a working instrument for journalistic use and the translations from the original are not official.

English Edition


16 - 25.11.1997




The thirteenth General Congregation of the Synod of Bishops, Special Assembly for America, commenced today, at 10:00 am, with the chant of the Office of the Third Hour, in the presence of the Holy Father, for the continuation of the general discussion of the Synodal theme. President Delegate on duty: H. Em. Rev. Card. Roger Michael MAHONY, Archbishop of Los Angeles.

The following Synodal Fathers intervened:

Herewith are the summaries of the interventions of the Fathers:

H.Em. Card. Edmund Casimir SZOKA , President of Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State

1. My first point regards "globalization of the economy". This globalization is not something of the future. It already exists now and will continue to develop in the future.

Economists are divided about globalization. In fact, they are divided about how the economy in first world countries actually functions. No one really knows or understands completely how the economy works. We understand some elements, but not all.

I am not a professional economist but I personally believe that the globalization of the economy will continue and that it has a dynamic of its own which cannot be halted by nationalistic efforts of isolationism.

This globalisation is certainly not being driven by Christian principles of solidarity. It is being driven by the motive of financial profit and, very often, by just plain greed.

However, Our Lord can work in strange ways, He can write straight with crooked lines and can bring good out of evil. I believe that in spite of the greed, the materialism and the other evils that may accompany the process of globalization, the process itself can be a means, in spite of itself, to a realization of the Christian communion and solidarity we all desire. Globalization, by its very nature, will move us closer to being one world, interdependent on each other. I will become clearer and clearer that we are one living, human family, that we truly need each other. Eventually, the living standards of the poor countries will improve while those of the wealthier countries will diminish, at least to some extent.

2. This brings me to my second point. We are inevitably being moved towards one world by economic and political forces. The question is whether the result will be a pagan, or perhaps at best a humanitarian communion and solidarity or rather a Christian communion and solidarity.

The Church must not withdraw from this process of globalization but rather enter into it on every level of human activity through the proclamation of Christ our Lord and Savior and the Gospel He has given to us. Our goal must be to transform this process into what our Holy Father has referred to as the "globalization of solidarity".

At the same time, it is important that we not fall into a social activism which can become a type of neo-pelagianism. Our work is always the work of God. We maintain a balance between our work and the action of God’s grace, above all, by prayer - not only liturgical prayer but also personal prayer. I do not think we can overemphasize the importance of personal prayer, especially in our world today.

[00173-02.02] [00161] [Original text: English]

H.Em. Card. William Wakefield BAUM , Major Penitentiary

The proclamation about the Truth about Jesus Christ makes possible this Synod for America and unites us in our ministry. In our examination of conscience attention should be fixed not only on times past but upon our own failures as Bishops to safeguard the deposit of faith to dispel ambiguity to correct error and to combat heresy. The Doctrine of the Church on the central mysteries of the Trinity the Incarnation of the Word and the mediatorship of Christ is widely questioned, rejected or relativised. Redemptoris Missio warns us of this as we recall the acclamation "Peter speaks through Leo" we affirm today: Peter speaks through John Paul II. We must never be half-hearted in responding to the question what say you of Christ? Have we been vigilant as watchmen? Have we been timid or unsure of our own teaching authority? How often have we found among us an Athanasius, a John Fisher? Failure to acknowledge the gravity of these Doctrinal problems will compromise our efforts to fulfill the purposes of this Synod. As we celebrate the impetus of the Holy Spirit in sending heroic witnesses to evangelize the New World we also give thanks for the presence of this cloud of holy witnesses which surrounds us in this hall. The Church brought to our hemisphere the benefits of European culture and in time shaped a new culture. The Gospel continues to create a culture which transcends all boundaries. To this end there must be a strong emphasis on the necessity of personal conversion including repentance and confession of sins in the Sacrament of Penance. Without this there can be no true reform of social structures. We must face realistically the reality of sin, the force of evil, the presence of the Evil One in all human affairs. In the Sacrament of Reconcilliation Our Lord personally imparts forgiveness to the contrite sinner. Our task is to reawaken the sense of sin among Catholics and to give renewed emphasis to the Sacrament of Penance. Along with this we must teach again with clarity the truth about Eternal Life and the Last Things: DEATH, JUDGEMENT, HEAVEN, HELL. For all of us frequent confession is a means of continuing purification and spiritual growth. May our Lord arouse in us a hunger and thirst for forgiveness in our own lives and as His instruments of reconciliation.

[00176-02.02] [00165] [Original text: English]

H.Exc. Most Rev. José Paulino RÍOS REYNOSO , Archbishop of Huancayo

The Church of America requires a project for evangelization and for the application of Vatican Council II, i.e. a project in the service of conversion and growth of the values of Christian or Evangelical life... This project must express the itinerary of faith in which the People of God should live, keeping in mind those we call "alienated", people of good will and the poor, i.e. those who somehow "KNOW NOTHING, DO NOTHING and HAVE NOTHING". It is the evangelization of the majority of the baptized in America who do not feel identified with this visible Church, because she does not respond to their expectations. This requires fidelity to Jesus Christ who came into the world to save. Not to save the healthy who did not need a doctor, but the ill. What we need is a project where evangelization confirms the model for a Church community. Evangelization project: a) In the service of unity and diversity. b) In coherence with the magisterium of the Church. c) To respond to the challenges the world places before the Church. In her view of the challenges of the world the Church, which exists for the world, is called upon to contribute to finding a positive way of meeting them, through the activation of its very nature of communion with God, among persons, and integrating in her nature and the cosmos.

Pastoral Options. Option for globality. All the theology of the Church as the Body of Christ and of the Church - organic and dynamic communion requires globality as a focus for all instances. Why is there so much pastoral ineffectiveness in the Church? Because a great majority of our pastors and guides have no global vision of the world and the Church. Theological doctrine remains at the level of theory but not of practice. Option for spirituality of communion or community spirituality. Spirituality which is a way of "seeing, being and acting" which has its catalyzing medium in communion with God, with others in God, and goes on to involve the whole of creation. Option for the evangelized and evangelizing community. All those baptized - pastors or the faithful, children or adults, sinners or saints, must be brought into the communal process of evangelization. Personal conversion. From one pastoral action for others, one must pass on to another action which originates from others, and done together with the others, so that all together we steadily come to understand the wisdom of Christ. It is urgent to implement a project founded on Church communion, to assume a process of permanent conversion expressed in solidarity as a consequence of the encounter with the living Jesus Christ and a full life for everyone. We must work towards a project uniting all the realities of the Church to produce a pastoral that is coherent, organic and systematic. It is also urgent to undertake a new and enthusiastic evangelization that will fill in the gaps in pastoral activities and print the name of Christ the Savior on the hearts and lips of everyone. And so America, and we, its Pastors, Religious and Laymen, will walk on together in hope.

[00175-02.05] [00164] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Jorge Arturo MEDINA ESTÉVEZ , Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Valparaíso, Pro-Prefect of Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

The liturgy is the culmination of the Church’s action, and at the same time, it is the source from which emanates all its life-force (SC 10): this is an indisputable teaching of the doctrinal heritage of the Church and the feeling of the faithful people corroborate it. The liturgical movement, initiated more than a century ago, has been enforced in recent times with the publication of three documents: the encyclical, "Mediator Dei," the Constitution on the Liturgy of the Second Vatican Council, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church; it is necessary that these teachings, which explain the Tradition of the Church, be continually put into practice and made alive for individuals and communities. "We live for God, and we die for God" (Rm 14:8) and our life must be an offering, a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God (Cf. Rm 12:1 f.). To celebrate the liturgy is to direct the heart towards the glory of God and this implicates the rejection of all idolatries. The offering of the liturgical sacrifice cannot be solely an external act, rather one that implies the effective offering of life to the Father in Christ, in and through the Holy Spirit. It is incoherent to try to participate in eucharistic communion when concrete life expresses a rejection of the law of God, that which is clear in situations of concubinage or adultery, though not only in these. We live for God, to extol the glory of his grace: this is our raison d’etre, our happiness and the waiting room to eternal life.

[00203-02.04] [00189] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Walter PÉREZ VILLAMONTE , Titular Bishop of Curubi and Auxiliary of Sucre

Corruption constitutes one of the challenges for evangelization in America. It takes many forms: theft, bribery, swindling in commercial and public relations, the fast buck, the backup in the juridical system, prevarication and impunity in the face of embezzling millions. This becomes a way of culture and inverts moral-ethical values with the principle: "the end justifies the means".

The loss of the resonance of the conscience violates right reason, debasing human dignity and debilitating the law of love and the praxis of good. Corruption harms the humble people and those of social and political prestige, with the first being the victims of disproportionate and unjust sanctions. Communications media corroborate to the deterioration of good customs.

Facing all this, we must re-affirm our adherence to Christ, the unique and absolute referent of life and attitudes. The effort towards conversion in the Church is an exigency through which She acquires evangelizing strength.

The most urgent pastoral tasks are: the capacity to look with mercy on those wounded by corruption, and to help the implantation of concrete signs of hope and Christian transformation. It is necessary to increase in evangelical freedom in order to confront the powers of this world. It is right to support efforts which achieve just, ethical and juridical ordinances.

[00184-02.04] [00170] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. José Ramón GURRUCHAGA EZAMA , S.D.B., Bishop of Lurín

In the next millennium, with all assuredness, the evangelization of the American continent will be articulated in the sphere of scholastic education, both elementary and higher education; tomorrow, as has been done up to the present, in this sector, one will fight decisive battles for the Faith, for culture and for a development worthy for humanity.

From the time when the Divine Teacher invited us, saying, Go forth and teach, the Catholic Church has always recognized this by coursing the streets of the poor and of culture, and especially, in the educational sector, above all in the elementary and high schhols. The American continent has received the Good News of the Gospel in enunciation and witness by preaching and by means of schools of faith, culture and life.It has constructed bastions in defense of the poor and those needful of recognition. There, united with the treasure of the Faith, they have received a valid instrument in order to honorably attain life and to build society; this is not without continuous struggle: philosophical and ideological systems and power groups have always viewed the elementary and high schools as the guarantee of a future harvest.

School offers to all some real propositions which enable one to advance, individually and collectively, in the "Encounter with the living Christ, for conversion, communion and solidarity.

As a consequence, I propose:

1. Take into serious consideration this instrument of evangelization, of culture, development and dignified life.

2. Accompany and empower organizations such as C.I.E.C. (Inter-American Conference of Catholic Education), and thus coordinate efforts with greater efficacy .

3. Promote the educative communities as encounters of evangelization.

4. Exhort the institutes of consecrated life, not only to continue with a renewed ardor, faithful to their charism; but also to seek with creativity and evangelical spirit, models for schools for the poor.

5. Open a space for a lay ministry of educators , which, at the same time renders homage to the consecrated lay Brothers for their educative and pastoral labor in the schools.

[00185-02.05] [00171] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Francisco Javier ERRÁZURIZ OSSA , Archbishop - Bishop of Valparaíso

The central question of our Synod refers to the quality of the living encounter with the Lord. If this encounter is as enlivening and transforming as in the life of the saints, it will produce the fruits of conversion, communion and solidarity.

Herewith suggesting, as part of the conclusions of the Synod:

1. That we give great importance to the popular piety of the people, to the sanctuaries, to pilgrimages and to the forms of devotion to the Most Holy Virgin and to the saints, as a privileged way towards the encounter with the living Jesus Christ.

2. That we show from the life of the saints, all the fruits of conversion, communion and solidarity of their living encounter with the Lord.

3. That we help all priests and the faithful to consider holiness as the most evident aspiration of the existence of a Christian, and not as something exceptional, reserved to few baptized.

4. That we do not content ourselves with resolutely insisting on the preferential love of Jesus Christ for those who do not have material means. If we wish to promote holiness, also we must openly present his option for the poor of Yahweh. It is necessary to recuperate the option that led Him to choose Mary, Peter, Matthew, and so many others in order to build up his Church.

5. That the publication of the conclusions of the Synod appear in the frame of numerous beatifications and canonizations.

[00186-02.04] [00172] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. James Francis STAFFORD , Archbishop emeritus of Denver and President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity

A communio formation of the laity is important in a dechristianized culture. The American laity already live in a secularized culture or one in the process of secularization. Their world is increasingly a world without wonder or awe. It is a world of disenchantment. Yet Christ entrusted his Church with the task of keeping alive the soul of childhood: "to all who received Him, ... He gave power to become children of God" (Jn 1. 12).

Researchers describe the effects of the network society in promoting the process of disenchantment. It is a world of real virtuality in which "all brands and makes", including Christian faith, become flat, horizontal, just one choice from a whole cornucopia of choices. By the very nature of the medium the mass audience is conditioned to develop its own tailor- made version of religion by combining various "church brands" into its own self-constructed images. "Societies are finally and truly disenchanted because all wonders are on line and can be combined into self-constructed image worlds" (Manuel Castells).

How does the Church catechize in a world of real virtuality?

1. The Church should use the media. Paris World youth Day showed how the Paschal Mystery might be presented.

2. The electronic media are morally ambiguous in their presentation of information.

3. Laity cannot be neutral to the Sacrament of Baptism. In fact, "the call to holiness is rooted in baptism, and proposed anew in the other Sacraments, principally the Eucharist" (Christifideles Laici 16). The Sacraments of Initiation are the foundation of Christian spirituality.

But in a network society Christian images are in need of catechetical rehabilitation. Questions need to be raised in a catechetical setting. What is the relationship of Baptism, the free decision to believe in the Creed, and eschatological realities? Why is Baptism called the Sacrament of Faith? The new lay ecclesial movements have given answers.

4. Do the laity understand that the Eucharist is the Sacrament of the union in One Flesh of the Second Adam and the Second Eve? Clearly this Mystery requires a kenotic/marian spirituality. Priority needs to be given to creative receptivity in prayer and work. The Catholic experience of faith takes Mary’s fiat as archetype and model.

What are the implications of this kenotic/Marian spirituality in cultures where women and children don’t count and masculine power and the profit margin do? In light of the increasing number of children being raised without fathers, men especially need to contemplate with greater tenderness women in all the dignity and complexity of their feminine persons, a contemplation central to the teaching of Humanae Vitae. This is the measure of the New Evangelization’s challenge.

God has entrusted the Church with the task of keeping alive the spirit of child-like wonder in the world. In light of their call and election as children of God, the laity desire a renewed spirituality of ecclesial communio by rediscovering the Sacrament of Baptism and the other Sacraments of Initiation.

[00187-02.02] [00173] [Original text: English]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Edmundo Luis Flavio ABASTOFLOR MONTERO , Archbishop of  La Paz

The challenge of globalization is advancing in lines that converge with the evangelizing mission of the Church. Her mission is set above the distances and differences between men, offering them all a single truth, one faith and one baptism; and proposing that we draw nearer to the one God and Father of us all. The globalization process must be accompanied by one of differentiation and individualization; diversity among cultures and peoples, down to each individual, must be respected. This is what the Church is seeking in its task of inculturation and her personal call to conversion. The Church must promote the positive aspects of the globalization process; she must collaborate in bringing nations and peoples together and helping to overcome conflicts between fraternal nations. The beginning of the third millennium will be characterized by domination of the media. And these the Church must employ as an effective instrument of evangelization, which will allow her to reach the people who have turned away from the Church, and the dechristianized world of unbelievers, especially at the post-modern level of society. The media are the borderland, where the Church encounters the world. They also need to be evangelized, so that they can facilitate the encounter with the living Jesus Christ. Special pastoral attention must be given to the communicators pastoral attention so that the personal experience of God can be transmitted to them too. The lack of vocations to the priesthood is not due to the fact that they do not exist, but because we do not know where to find them. The Lord is generous and has called many people to attend our churches and to send missionaries to other parts of the world. The task of all Christians is to look for those that have been called. We must ask the Lord for the grain that calls forth the workers it needs and that to all Christians us of farsightedness to find those He has called. We are confident that in the year 2000 we will have doubled the number of seminarians in all the local Churches of America.

[00188-02.05] [00174] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Manuel EGUIGUREN GALARRAGA , O.F.M., Titular Bishop of Salpi and Auxiliary of El Beni

LAYMEN. Let us say it with pride: one of the most splendid pages of the history of the Church was written by laymen in Latin America in recent years. Thousands of women, men, children, old people, peasants, natives, lawyers, media people, mothers of families, catechists and religious leaders have given their lives as martyrs for the Kingdom of God, and for their brethren. Following the example of these martyrs of the faith, who believed that those who die have more to gain than those who kill, the layman, the Christian of today, has a mission to accomplish in society: renew the family, do away with corruption and poverty. How to achieve it. By changing the political parties from within, and not by changing party. WOMEN. Can we enter the 21st century reconciled with the sins committed against women in the course of history? Today, in Latin America, women, all women, including black women, native women, and poor, exploited, downtrodden women, are beginning to establish a collective conscience. Who could be a better model for them than the Virgin, an Indian among the Indians and a negress among the negroes in Latin America? She who sang to God: " My soul proclaims the Lord because he has pulled down princes and raised high the lowly..."? YOUTH. I have always wondered why the Holy Father meets with such a huge response from young people in all parts of the world. May it not be because he always presents them with a Gospel which is at once tremendously exciting and demanding?

[00189-02.04] [00175] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Antônio Celso QUEIRÓZ , Titular bishop of Saetabis and Auxiliary of Sâo Paulo

Nearly 25 years ago the Synod on the Evangelization of the world was held and Pope Paul VI gave us his Exhortation "Evangelii Nuntiandi", which - in confronting the abyss between faith and life - proposes the instillation of evangelical values in the sources that inspire the thought and life models of humanity, in order to transform them from within. Similarly, Pope John Paul II made his appeal for a new evangelization, to let the gospel penetrate the concrete dimensions of the life of the individual and society that are now profoundly changed. In this, laymen and laywomen assume a leadership role, for they are the ones who take responsibility in the family , professional life and social action, and "put into practice all the hidden Christian and evangelical possibilities, but ones still present and operative in the things of the world" (EN 70). Thus it appears important: 1) to present, as fruit of the Synod, a fundamentally positive and hopeful vision of the world, capable of animating the apostolic enthusiasm of laymen and laywomen.2) to appreciate the theology of ministries, but to place even greater value on the theology of the laity, giving every incentive to the presence of laymen and laywomen in social and political structures. 3) To give proper value to the contribution of the laity in the evangelizing mission of the Church, drawing from their life experience. 4) to recognize that the same Spirit, who makes evident the holiness of those who live the evangelical councils, also stimulates lay members to holiness, when engaged in the edification of the family and a society of justice and peace.

[00190-02.05] [00176] [Original text: Portoguese]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Julián GARCÍA CENTENO , O.S.A., Titular Bishop of Giro and Apostolic Vicar of Iquitos

Evangelization is the work of the Spirit. It is obvious that the Church on the American Continent places special attention on being open to the Spirit and allowing themselves to be guided through Him. With this attitude of vigilance and fidelity his mission will succeed.

In this sense, the Synod should invite the whole Church of the Continent to an energetic reawakening of the faith, spiritual life and holiness.

The wide range of programs and pastoral directions, and all that the Church can offer today to the Continent depends on the strength of its faith and spiritual life.

The key of evangelization does not lie in planning , but in faith lived in a simple way, solidly and with joy.

The Church must lay emphasis before any other thing on Her primary objective which is the explicit proclamation of the Kingdom of God and conversion which is necessary for Her fulfillment. In addition, the Synod should exhort the Church on the Continent to live the joy of unity in truth and love, and to overcome disqualifications which take away any enthusiasm and dishearten the most humble. It would also be desirable to invite to love the Church, make communion explicit with Peter the successor of Christ, with the Magisterium and the bishops, with kind and integrating love.

Renewal should occur through the conversion of hearts, which will have consequences in the ethical, social and political sector.

The Synod should also call for hope. This is our time and this is the world into which God sent us to offer salvation. God is with us. It is a big challenge. The Church has Her strength and power in Jesus.

Today our Church needs saints. They are the ones who carried out the most profound revolutions.

[00191-02.05] [00177] [Original text: Castillian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Ricardo EZZATI ANDRELLO , S.D.B.,Bishop of Valdivia

My address regards the first goal proposed for this Special Assembly of the Synod to foster a new evangelization on the whole continent as an expression of episcopal communion" (IL 1). The Church has received a mission from the Lord to ‘mediate’ this encounter for men and women on all times and place.

How can we announce Jesus Christ to young people in our countries?

1. A Church showing the beauty of the face of Christ. The Christian communities of America, as has often been said in this hall, need to show ever more intensely the beauty of the face of Christ to adults and especially to young people. This requires us to strengthen the mystical and spiritual dimension of being Christian, as the fruit of the continuing contemplation of the Mystery of God as manifested in Jesus Christ. Reviving the contemplative aspect does not mean to ignore the concrete, urgent problems of young people, but rather to understand and assist young people with deep, genuine originality and fruitfulness, offering them the Church’s greatest gift.

2. A valid catechesis to accompany the Christian growth of young people. Another aspect is also urgent: the need to offer young people substantial catechesis, with a more charismatic, evangelizing spirit. Most young people on the continent no longer have the support of Christian families, and we cannot assume that they have a Christian environment and a family blessed by faith. In many cases, there are pagan young people who have been baptized. Daily contact with the world of the young shows us that many of them live in terrible ignorance of Jesus and His message. Their knowledge is generally very vague, incoherent and without a central core enabling them to mature as Christians. The encounter is more genuine and profound when knowledge grows and when together with knowledge there is also a growing synergy between life and intentions, the enthusiasm and willingness of discipleship.

3. The community experience to develop the encounter with Christ. Finally, and as an integral part with the previous aspects, there is a third "how", an educational process which strengthens and develops the first encounter. I am referring to the community experience, movements for spirituality and apostolic and missionary commitment existing in our churches. It should be recognized than in many ecclesial situation the groups and movements give an important contribution to the development of young people’s faith. The community experience and movements offer young people a solid doctrinal basis, a real initiation to the spiritual life and a generous sense of ecclesial belonging.

The concrete problems that some movements seem to cause should be faced clearly and with ecclesial charity so as to optimize the good which the Church expects from them.

Conclusion. The significant encounter with the uncovered face of Christ, the beauty of the Church, the witness to holiness, a process of education of faith focused on the proclamation of the genuine fundamentals of faith, a suitable community experience, will help young people, for whom "pastoral concern is a real priority" (IL 37), to put into practice a fine theory so often preached; this should become a systematic process of evangelization that, by the grace of God, will contribute to making the American continent truly Christian in the next century.

[00192-02.04] [00178] [Original text: Castilian]

Rev. Fr. P. John CORRIVEAU , O.F.M. Cap., Superior General of the Franciscan Order of Friars Minor, Capuchin

Instrumentum Laboris, 6 affirms that it is proper to announce Jesus Christ in terms of "a personal encounter". This corresponds to contemporary sensitivities about human dignity and the importance of each individual as subject, rather than object, in both the divine and human enterprise. Sects and new religious movements are experiencing phenomenal growth today because they are well attuned to the personalism of our age, and fill their members with zeal to share their new-found faith with others. They engage their new believers at a level of communion that affirms their charisms and ministries. The Instrumentum is devoid of any similar challenge for Catholic laity. There is no mention of the laity’s role in proclaiming the gospel as essential to the vitality of the faith community. Since baptism is the source of both communion and mission in the church (ibid., 25), the Synod should clearly call the laity to become active agents of evangelization.

Authority is most effective when it accompanies rather than when it only directs. The church must be concerned not only for adherence to its magisterium, but perhaps even more importantly today, for creating structures of accompaniment and collaboration. Collaborative ministry expresses a theology of communion. It flows from a profound respect for all charisms granted by the Spirit to the Church. The church is a communion of charisms, not only diocesan and religious, but more fundamentally clerical and lay. The lay call to ministry is directly derived from the Christian vocation as such and from union with Christ as head of the Church (cf. Apostolicam Actuositatem, 1-3). Therefore, without any confusion of roles, the laity must be accepted as equal dialogue partners and as collaborators in ministry in the church.

It is the unmistakable responsibility of the bishop to coordinate and order all charisms, including those of religious. Bishops, however, sometimes imagine collaboration in ways that reduce religious communities to reservoirs of priests and other ministers, conveniently available for diocesan vacancies. In some cases, bishops even wish to eliminate all differences in ministerial approaches. Bishops might rather challenge religious to minister in continuity with the uniqueness of their charisms (cf. Mutuae Relationes, 11).

Vita Consecrata (n. 61) offers a model of collaboration between clergy and laity in its renewed recognition of mixed institutes. Reflective of a theology of communion, the specific character of these "fraternities" resides in the fact that cleric members and lay members enjoy equal rights and obligations, with the exception of those which stem from holy orders (cf. VC. 61; PC. 15). These institutes incarnate not only a unique mode of living the holy gospel, but a mutually respectful and collaborative mode for cleric and lay members to proclaim the gospel in the world. This form of life, lived for many centuries within the Church, offers the best guarantee that such charisms can be lived without confusion of cleric and lay ministerial roles. With the full implementation of Vita Consacrata, 61, mixed institutes will be challenged to bring that same vitality to the new evangelization of the Americas as was released by them in the first proclamation of the gospel.

[00193-02.02] [00179] [Original text: English]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Willem Michel ELLIS , Bishop of Willemstad

I wholeheartedly express my gratitude to the Holy Father for having us come together for the Synod of America, our America.

My intervention is for the purpose of placing more attention on the formation of our priests. Thousands and thousands of priests live their priestly life quite right; however, there are also many deficiencies.

The priest must be holy, wise, and healthy.

In this modern world, full of frivolity and sex in the communications media and in lifestyle, it is impossible to carry out a life of celibacy without an intimate friendship with the living Christ in the Eucharist, and without a profound devotion to the Most Holy Virgin.

What can we do for our priests?

To avoid the loneliness of the priest, "Go alone,": let them they live together with other priests or with one’s relatives. Let them join in some work and some sport. Continual formation. Monthly days of recollection and the annual, obligatory retreat. Frequent confession. It is not just, that some priests live in abundance and others in real poverty.

What assurances can we give, together, to the elderly and infirm priests?

For priests that have fallen, how can we provide them with psychological treatment? Treatment centers generally are costly and beyond the price that many dioceses can pay.

Let us help our brother priests.

[00194-02.04] [00180] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Edgerton Roland CLARKE , Archbishop of Kingston in Jamaica

Most pastoral problems in our region find their origin in the breakdown of Christian family life.

A small Catholic population and financial restraints make us particularly vulnerable to unwelcome cultural and moral invasion from the developed world.

Our poor are particularly harmed by imported propaganda inducing sexual immorality of various kinds.

Massive foreign debts create hardship and migration which disrupts family unity.

Massive differences between rich and poor bring about urban overcrowding, lack of educational opportunity, crime and violence on a large scale.

So-called "common law" unions alienate large numbers from the Church.

We must address pastoral problems much more seriously.

[00195-02.02] [00181] [Original text: English]

Rev. Fr. Emilius GOULET , P.S.S., Secretary General of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops

For about 30 years our country has been recording a gradual reduction in the number of priests. This situation, which initially seemed to be negative, has caused some beneficial effects. In fact, many lay faithful, men and women, have become aware of their responsibility in the Church.

Meanwhile, the shortage of vocations continues. It has become dramatic; since in some dioceses priests recruitment is almost inexistant. Exercising a priest’s ministry and the image of a priest have changed greatly. Thus, many priests have the impression that the responsibility of more than one parish has made them have a significant loss in the quality of their links with their flock and no longer allows them to give sense to the Eucharist, the source and peak of Christian life. Without considering that a good number of lay faithful do not willingly accept the fact of not having a permanent pastor. Consequently, great pressure has been put on the priest and his image is becoming less and less important.

Here are three suggested ways of action:

1. Rearrange and harmonize the tasks of priests, lay pastoral agents and persons in ew ministries, to avoid to reducing the priest’s ministry at the threshold of sacramentalization.

2. Help priests to lead a balanced life, by fostering spiritual resources, the necessary rest, seeing fraternal and community life in the parishes or in spiritual life teams.

3. Foster a reawakening of vocations to the priesthood, by being courageous enough to call out to young adults. This task falls on all the People of God, but first of all on priests, by bearing witness to their life and enthusiasm when exerting their mission.

To achieve this task of "new evangelization", it is necessary to stimulate apostolic priests, who are involved in proclaiming the Gospel, and who are not only keen about being pastors of the Church that has already been established, but also missionaries of the living Christ in the world where so many men and women aspire towards freedom and search for a meaning in life.

[00196-02040] [00182] [Original text: French]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Kelvin Edward FELIX , Archbishop of Castries

The four parts of the Instrumentum Laboris are highly relevant for today’s Church in our hemisphere. They constitute a framework for mission and ministry. I share with this Synod a framework for pastoral action called the Christian Celebration of Life (CCL). It is a pastoral process in 5 phases for systematic formation in faith that implements the 4 parts of the Synod’s agenda.

Because the CCL is drawn from gospel Christology and Vatican II ecclesiology (LG), it has remarkable flexibility for adoption to all cultures, and is suggested for adoption by local churches in this hemisphere.

It helps Christian Catholics answer their ‘call to holiness’. To our many baptized, though secularistic Catholics, it enables them, by God’s grace and their good disposition, to encounter Christ and by means of conversion and communio become one with Christ in the solidarity of our One , Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Phase 1 of the CCL Process is encounter with the Living Christ. It starts with selection of the new group of lay leaders, 12 to 15 people, akin to Christ’s selection of the 12 Apostles. This group carries out the Process under the supervision of the pastor.

In Phase 2, encounter with Christ is extended to Small Ecclesial Faith Communities (SEFCs) (also called ‘base communities’), as Jesus extended his community from 12 to 72 disciples.

In Phase 3, genuine encounter with the Living Christ produces conversion, which is deepened by participation in Liturgy of the Eucharist. Transcendence of the heart takes place through God’s loving grace and person’s active faith.

Phase 4 in the CCL Process has to do with ‘communio’. In practice, communio means to seek out the ‘living stones’ that have fallen out of the structure, and put them back into the ‘edifice of spirit’. (I Pet. 2,5)Pastorally, ‘communio’ means community building by home visitation and evangelization. (cf. EN, 46)

Phase 5 has to do with the Holy Eucharist, which is the epicenter of Solidarity. It consist of 52 weeks of faith formation for recovery of belief in the Holy Eucharist, worship, adoration, reverence and reparation for sacrilege. Solidarity can and will be achieved ultimately and only in resurgence of belief in and love of Eucharist.

Let us strive to be evangelized in order to evangelize.

[00197-02.03] [00183] [Original text: English]

H.Exc. Most Rev. William Joseph LEVADA , Archbishop of San Francisco

The new evangelization called for five hundred years after the first evangelization of America requires a new catechesis as its "engine", in order to provide the lay faithful with the comprehensive understanding of their faith to allow them to embrace Christ’s mission of transforming the world with confidence. The Catechism of the Catholic Church provides the comprehensive basis for such a renewed catechesis, and the new General Directory for Catechesis offers the Church a new catechetical moment to equip every Christian to fulfill the mission which is rightfully theirs by Baptism and Confirmation to be the evangelizers of their culture.

[00198-02.02] [00184] [Original text: English]


This thirteenth General Congregation concluded at 12.30 pm, with the prayer of the "Angelus Domini". There were present 219 Fathers.


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