Commission for information of the
16 November-12 December 1997
"Encounter with the
Living Jesus Christ,
The Bulletin of the Synod of Bishops is only a working instrument for journalistic use and the translations from the original are not official.
20 - 27.11.1997
Today at 5.05 p.m., in the Synod Hall, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the "Prayer for the Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops" in Portuguese, the Seventeenth General Congregation of the Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops opened to conclude discussion on the Synodal theme. The President Delegate on duty was H. Em. Card. Eugênio DE ARAÚJO SALES, Archbishop of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro.
The following Fathers intervened:
Herein follow the summaries of the interventions of the Synodal Fathers:
As the Instrumentum Laboris correctly notes, the situation in North America favors ecumenical dialogue. As other speakers have pointed out, it has not always been this way. Thanks to the forthright leadership of bishops of both Eastern and Western Catholic Churches the wounds of the past are healing. Likewise, as we look to our Orthodox Christian neighbors in North America, we see them in greater peace among themselves despite varying ethnic backgrounds and traditions in Europe and Middle East.
This movement toward mutual respect and collaboration, is due in great measure to factors mentioned by the Holy Father in Ut Unum Sint, namely, a developing personal trust between people of faith which accompanies regular contacts, a deepened sense of how much we already have in common, and an awareness of the need to make a common front against a culture of disbelief (Cf. Ut Unum Sint, nn. 71-73). Since 1965, we have seen also growing dialogues, first at the scholars’ level and, more recently, through the Catholic-Orthodox Bishops’ Committee. These dialogues nourish mutual understanding on the American scene. They also offer explicit support to, and interaction with, the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches.
Going back to the first millennium of the Undivided Church, the Dialogue has affirmed our "common faith in the mystery of the Church and the bond between faith and the sacraments" and that "in our churches apostolic succession is fundamental for the sanctification and unity of the people of God." (Cf. op. cit., n. 59). It has treated also our relations with each other. These relations were clouded when the collapse of Communism opened the way to new freedom in Eastern and Central Europe. Our Churches, with patience and mutual respect, now strive to move beyond these problems to return to the Theological Dialogue.
Reference has already been made to the recent visit of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew to the United States. Two days after his Georgetown address Patriarch Bartholomew came to Baltimore where he presided and preached at an ecumenical prayer service in our nation’s mother cathedral, the Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a setting which recalled our common devotion to the all-holy Theotokos, the Mother of God. That evening the Patriarch addressed with great warmth the bishops and the scholars present, the Catholic and Orthodox members of the two national joint committes for the dialogue.
Patriarch Bartolomew congratulated them for their efforts so far, spoke of the love between us, and of "the pain of the journey we must make together, to return to the Father’s house as one body." Underscoring a commitment to bring "Christ’s love to the world", and to dedicate his energies "toward unity in Love for the Lord", he prayed that the Lord may "grant unto us, that one day we might with one mouth and one heart glorify and praise His sublime and majestic name, of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit." Several days later he announced his intention to convene at the Phanar in Istanbul the Orthodox members of the Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue to discuss the next steps to be taken to facilitate their dialogue with the Catholic Church.
This ecumenical journey is not an easy one, but it takes another step this week as Cardinal Edward Cassidy goes to the Ecumenical Patriarch with the personal message of the Holy Father.
To assist this ecumenical pilgrimage, I suggest that the International Commission meet in the friendly atmosphere of America and that we applaud and pray for Cardinal Cassidy and his mission.
[00230-02.02]  [Original text: English]
Over five hundred years ago, Europeans came to the shores of the American continent. Among them were evangelizers who proclaimed the Gospel, and countless indigenous peoples from a rich diversity of cultures embraced the Risen Lord. We thank God that so many indigenous people today are baptized into the life of the Trinity. Evangelization and the establishment of the Church in American occurred within the context of the European settlement and the rise of the nation-states of North and South America. On the one hand many indigenous people have been baptized, but vast numbers were robbed of their cultural identity. Many indigenous people today remain ambivalent about Christianity and many others reject it completely.
The indigenous peoples of America are in a crisis which demands authentic responses based upon our Gospel values. Everywhere on our continent indigenous peoples suffer the worst neglect and impoverishment of any population. The preeminent measure of the success of the planting of the Gospel in America is the condition of the first peoples who welcomed Europeans and received the Word of God in their hearts and minds, each according to their circumstances and abilites. Their condition more often is marked by failure than by success.
If the Church is to survive in indigenous communities in the next millennium, immediate re-evangelization is necessary. Accordingly, the members of this Synod need to address a number of areas to make a re-evangelization effort effective.
Justice: We must support the effors of indigenous peoples to have justice regarding treaties, land and water rights, education, housing, health care, social services, training and jobs, and the use of sacred lands. We must advocate for their survival. If we do not join them in seeking justice, none of the other feautures of their current crises can be addressed succesfully, and we risk losing them forever.
Reconciliation: Reconciliation with God and with one another is also needed. So, pastors, we must once again make it clear that we are sorry for past mistakes and actively seek reconciliation.
Dialogue: Dialogue between bishops and indigenous peoples is imperative for reconciliation, understanding and catechesis. This includes dialogue between diocesan bishops and their indigenous faithful and between bishops with those who follow only the traditional ways of their ancestors. This dialogue can only take place in an environment of respect and trust after resentment and suspicion have been laid to rest.
Inculturation: Inculturation of sacramental life, the liturgy and theology is of utmost importance for indigenous peoples. With respect for cultures and religious heritages, the Gospel must be preached and lived in a manner that affirms that God was present and working among these peoples before the evangelizers arrived. Christ did not come to destroy cultures but rather to renew and fulfill them.
Missionaries: Missionaries working with our indigenous people must be carefully screened and well trained. They must be people of prayer, committed to the Church, of sound mental health, committed to establishing local leadership, comfortable in their own culture, and able to enter respectfully into another’s culture.
Leadership: Indigenous leaders, ordained and lay, are the most essential factor for inculturation. Their gifts must be called forth and they must be asked to bear responsibility for their local church. This will requiere inculturated formation programs for priests, permanent deacons, lay ministers, and members of religious communities.
Catechesis: Succesful evangelization and re-evangelization demand that indigenous people take responsability for catechesis. Well-informed indigenous leaders, in consultation with the hierarchy, can develop inculturated catechetical methods which will be effective with adults and youth.
Ecumenism: There is a special and pressing need for cooperation among Christians for accomplishing the inculturation of the Gospel among the vast array of peoples. Christian indigenous leaders need to meet often and form associations to encourage communication and dialogue.
The indigenous peoples of America are in a crisis which demands an authentic response on our part based upon Gospel values. We must act responsibly so that the Risen Lord can be truly encountered and be fully embraced by indigenous, aboriginal peoples of our hemisphere.
[00227-02.02]  [Original text: English]
The great and urgent projects of solidarity to help the poor to climb out of their misery, will give effective results for the long term. Meanwhile, it is possible to undertake so many small initiatives, at the parochial and diocesan level, which allow provision for the most urgent necessities. Some initiatives already exist, undertaken by lay Catholics, that have been bringing forth concrete results, for example: distribution of food to more than 750,000 indigenous families; small bank credits at low interest that benefit approximately 200,000 families; aid for financing of small businesses.
This same path of possible, small steps can be applied in the sector of evangelization, in which initiatives are in progress. One cites, by way of example: the formation and launching of 2,200 full-time evangelizers, more than 22,000 others, part-time, who have visited more than 650,000 homes, prevalently in indigenous and rural zones; add 22,400 missionaries and catechists of Juventud y Familia Missionera (Youth and Family Mission) who realize intensive missions in various periods of the year; the weekly edition of "Desde la Fe," with a printing of 750,000 copies; television broadcast of messages of prevention against sects and against New Age; courses of Christian formation for professors of public and private schools; congresses involving evangelization and catechesis for the purpose of collaborating with the bishops in the permanent formation of agents for evangelization.
[00228-02.04]  [Original text: Castilian]
He expresses his gratitude to the Holy Father for having invited him to participate in this Synod for America and to enjoy, in this manner, the profound ecclesial experience that the Synod represents. As the bishop named by the Spanish bishops’ conference to head OCSHA (Work of Hispanic-American Cooperation of Priests), he evokes the contribution which several hundred diocesan priests offer to different dioceses of Latin America under the direction of the local bishops.
They are really continuing the work of so many priests of the secular Spanish clergy, together with many religious men and women, who took such anive part in the first evangelization of America. St. John of Avila, patron of the diocesan clergy of Spain, wanted to work in America, although different circumstances prevented him from fulfilling his wish to cross to the other side of the Atlantic. In the light of what was the first work of evangelization, he suggests never to separate the horizontal dimension in promoting indigenous people from the strictly evangelizing vertical dimension. The reductions in Paraguay were an example marking the union of both dimensions.
[00229-02.04]  [Original text: Castilian]
Our aspiration for an evangelization within reach of everyone and which is deeply rooted in the soul is the goal we can and must achieve in our time. The stakes are the eternal salvation of millions of souls and a remedy for the enormous suffering caused by injustices. Evangelization must reach everyone, and this can only come about when the laymen of the faithful assume leading roles. Today evangelization training the laity as apostles. "By its very nature, a Christian vocation is also a vocation to the apostolate." (Apostolicam actuositatem 2) A mother of a family must be told that it is not enough for her to attend church regularly and participate in some parish activity, but that she use her human and supernatural resources to draw closer to God, to her husband and children, as well as to the women who are her neighbors and work companions. Something similar must be told the farmer, the doctor, the trades unionist, the entrepreneur and the statesman....that if they want to be Christians they must become apostles. It is certainly necessary for some to collaborate in ecclesiastical activities, but the vast majority must evangelize on their work premises, within their families and in social spheres where they meet through divine design. This is why laymen must be supported by a proper training that is specifically lay, aimed toward sanctification at world level and to evangelization of the world from within (Lumen gentium, n. 31). This training should lead to prayer and to frequent taking of the sacraments, since these are the means of sanctification. The ministry of the priest is essential for this work. Ministry means service. People ask the priest to have the humility to serve so that the lay faithful will be open to Christ at all levels of society. In this service the following should be emphasized: 1) the need for a global and systematic catechesis, based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church: 2) the urgent need to revitalize the Sacrament of Repentance: here a wider availability of priests is necessary; 3) the relation between Evangelization and Liturgy; concretely, it should be noted that this is created through the care with which liturgical norms are observed. This is a fundamental service which the priests must provide for the rest of the faithful.
[00231-02.04]  [Original text: Castilian]
The special Synod for Africa was summoned by the Holy Father "in order to promote an organic pastoral solidarity within the entire African territory and nearby Islands" (EIA, 5). The Synodal Assembly studied in depth the different aspects of the theme which the Holy Father assigned to it on "The Church in Africa and Her evangelizing mission towards the Year 2000": "You will be my witnesses" (Act 1, 8). The Synod fathers went through the questions concerning evangelization, inculturation, dialogue, justice, peace, and the media.
The Synod wanted to be the Synod of resurrection and the Synod of Hope (EIA, 57) and took the following basic option: the new evangelization, which will be "centered on a transforming encounter with the living person of Christ" (EIA, 57), will have as its goal building the Church-Family of God, so that Christian families in Africa become "national churches" and African societies will become family societies (Cf EIA, 85). To build a Church-Family of God, in the image of the Trinitarian family, means going back to the source of communion with the Father, in Christ, through the Spirit.
It is encouraging to know that in spite of the historical, political and social-cultural differences, our two Synod Assemblies share the same preoccupations and pastoral anxieties: new evangelization, centrality of Christ, communion, solidarity, justice and peace, the new economic order, the problem of debt, corruption in general...
This agreement in pastoral views, leads us to the heart of the contemporary world which has been characterized by planetary civilization, internationalization and globalization, accented by electronic information networks. A globalized world and globalized problems need global pastoral solution. Effective collegiality is required!
Let’s get to the problem of a world economic nature. It is a fact which the current world order has as a result that, within the framework of the nations as in international relations, the rich get richer and richer and the poor get poorer and poorer. The system has been polluted: it has to be reformed. Contrary to postulates commonly stated, the law of the market (supply and demand) does not operate starting just from economic mechanisms: the balance between supply and demand are often more negotiable than spontaneous. It often shows political will and not economic mechanisms of the market.
Since on the one hand economy is for man and not man for economy, and, on the other hand, economy is part of the action of man (actus humani), it is subordinated to the criteria of morality. It is time for morality and ethics to come to the aid of the economy. In the economy, one must reaffirm the prevalence of man over profit. Another area where morality should intervene is the public debt of nations. It is morally unacceptable for loans to developing countries, manipulated and sent to private accounts abroad and then recycled in banking and economic networks, be considered as a debt assignable not to those who misappropriated them and whose names are well known, but rather to the people who have not had any benefit from this. The people, therefore, are twice victims. In the end vice and corruption are rewarded.
On this matter, Pope John Paul II rightly stated "I earnestly hope that international bodies and people of integrity in Africa and elsewhere will be able to investigate suitable legal ways of having thes embezzled funds returned. In the granting of loans it is important to make sure of the responsibility and forthrightness of the beneficiaries." (CIA, No.113).
This issue can neither be managed nor solved unless looked at from above: it is the secret of God. Conversely to the two sons in the parable of the prodigal son, let’s look at and discover the father, if we wish to discover our brothers and sisters. No doubt, our world needs many people like Zacheus , who thirst to see Christ, to see him from above and meet him, to welcome him to convert and commit themselves in a decisive initiative to repair any injustices done.
In this context, we agree with the request by the Holy Father, supported by numerous Synodal Fathers, regarding the reduction or the abolition of the public debt in the poorest countries on the occasion of the Great Jubilee of the year 2000.
[00262-02.04]  [Original text: French]
On behalf of Adveniat we are deeply grateful for our participation in this Synod. Solidarity in the Church, or rather comunio, has its foundations in mutual assistance. It means giving and receiving at the same time. We are all members in the mystical body of Christ. Adveniat is an action of solidarity in the Church and for the Church. But Adveniat is not an action that only gives and offers material aid (Instrumentum laboris, 56). The interchange of spiritual and religious values is also part of Adveniat’s work. We have noticed that in Latin America faith and joy in God are the hope of the poor. This experience must be shared and communicated. The way of authentic - comunio - affirms that evangelization is always intimately united with the promotion of human beings (Instrumentum laboris N. 59).
[00244-02.04]  [Original text: Castilian]
This reflection focused on paragraphs 62, 63, 65 and 66 of the Instrumentum Laboris , which deal with solidarity and love for the poor (para 62 and 63), foreign debt and equilibrium of the global economy (para 65), and solidarity and promotion of the culture of life (para 66).
The theme was approached from the outline of see, judge and act. Hence, a pastoral vision of reality was presented showing that the bipolar world of bygone days has been replaced by a unipolar world, where a globalized neoliberal economy prevails which tends to deepen the gap between the rich and the poor.
To this reality you have to add the weight of foreign debt, family disintegration, drug trafficking and drug consumption, the weapons race and internal wars, spreading illnesses caused by sexual transmission, in particular AIDS, high unemployment, marginization of certain ethnic groups, etc. Thus we can conclude that the American Continent having Christian roots tolerates conditions of social injustice which cry out to heaven.
To theologically enlighten this situation, reference was made to social testimonies by prophets of social justice, such as Amos, Miqueas and Isaias of the 8th century B.C., and, in particular, the mystery of Jesus Christ in whom God made himself one with mankind, but especially with the very poor.
In the face of economic globalization, with only the rules of supply and demand, we recalll the teachings of the social doctrine of the Church on social obligation which weighs on private property, and the principles of solidarity and subsidiarity, as explained in the in the Encyclical "Centesimus annus." We reached the conclusion that neoliberal globalization at the economic level requires as an answer a globalized economy in solidarity.
To conclude, there are some concrete proposals on four points: 1) as regards foreign debt, it is recommendable to welcome the proposal of Monsignor Mario Avila, who asks to have a dialogue in order to reduce, change or pardon, without paternalism, the foreign debt; make sure governments no longer contract debts behind the backs of the people and without effective administrative controls on capital received. 2) As regards neoliberal globalization of the economy, there was need to apply the principles contained in the Encyclical "Centesimus annus" in order to construct a social market economy or an economy of solidarity. 3) As regards the family, it has been recommended in a pastoral sense with a light of hope to focus on the reality of couples who are in irregular situations. 4) As regards sexually transmitted illnesses, emphasis was put on prevention through education.
[00245-02.04]  [Original text: Castilian]
Catechesis is one of the essential aspects of evangelization" and has "the purpose of not only putting the faithful into contact with Christ, but also in communication with Him."
In order to reach this goal, it is not enough to teach catechism as sound doctrine. A type of catechesis taking into account not only faith in God but also faith in man is required. The Word of God must be a response to real life, and life must be illuminated by the Word: "we have to interpret life in order to discover the invitation of the Holy Spirit to conversion, commitment and hope, and in this way to discover even more God’s plan in our own lives."
We should therefore rethink merely doctrinal catechisms. It is highly important for our catechisms to be incultured and based on Holy Scripture. "Catechesis should be an authentic introduction to lectio divina, i.e. reading according to the Spirit who dwells in the Church" (D.G.C. 128).
Other Synodal Fathers have already spoken more fluently than me about the inculturation of liturgy; I will just modestly suggest that this synod should reflect on the importance of paying greater attention to this matter, passing from simple purification to seek suitable ways to include expressions, signs and gestures of this rich religious devotion in liturgy. In my view it is a challenge to our faith in God and in man.
If we don’t make this effort to overcome mere tolerance, we will tend to have parallel liturgies among the people; they will passively submit to our liturgy and joyously celebrate in their own way.
[00246-02.04]  [Original text: Castilian]
It is fortunate that the Second Vatican Council, the Magisterium and the Synod have highlighted for us the importance of inculturation: "a faith that does not become culture is a faith which is not lived to the fullest" (John Paul II, O.R., 20 May 1982).
In Haiti, the Church has sought out cultural elements and utilized them in the liturgy, in catechesis and in pastoral activity in general. Nevertheless, the Church must be vigilant, especially with regard to voodoo which is not a valid, complete response to the profound aspirations of man and which most often engenders fear, division and vengeance.
There is much propaganda today in favor of voodoo. Voodoo certainly conveys very rich cultural elements. However, cultural elements and voodoo beliefs must not be confused as if they were the same thing. A musical instrument, a musical rhythm, is neutral in itself. The identity of Haitian people does not necessarily express itself in voodoo.
An apostle, a shepherd of his flock, can be paralyzed by a false notion of respect due to others, whatever the others may be. Actually, respect for others very much involves a type of guidance which may open their eyes to unexpected wonders. The problem lies in the educational approach and in methodology.
The evangelizing apostle must be convinced of having received an order from the Lord: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations..." (Mt 28:19-20.
The evangelizer must be convinced that "Only in Him is there salvation; for all the names in the world given to men, this is the only one by which we can be saved" (Ac 4:12).
Pastoral activity in general must be better adapted and lead to greater dynamism. It must involve team work.
Five aspects can be mentioned:
- To cultivate a profound sense of welcome. The Church is a family, all are brothers and sisters.
- To give priority to the organization of authentic basic ecclesial communities.
- To love and guide all those who are in distress, acting like pastors and not like political leaders.
- To accord the Bible its true place, recognizing its authority. It is the book we should never be without.
- To develop a missionary spirit among young and not so young people.
"Go, therefore..." is the Lord’s commandment.
[00250-02.04]  [Original text: French]
I am speaking on my own behalf. With regard to N. 37 of the Instrumentum Laboris where the word "young" is hardly mentioned at all. I will speak to young people about the family, social and religious problems of our times which disconcert them.
One cannot speak about the new evangelization without giving young people an important place. Leaving aside everything that has already been said on the Synodal theme, I would like to share a pastoral intuition on the problems of young people and to try to find solutions.
1. The tool of catechesis. A renewed, adapted, coherent, progressive catechesis which reveals to them the true face of Christ, a type of catechesis "for the times and against the times", catechesis which is a true education of faith and which conveys the Gospel in all of its teachings. We should not hesitate to commit young people, to make them responsible. Youth is the age of commitment.
2. To proclaim Christ who died and was resurrected. "If the grain falling on the ground does not die, it is alone. If it dies, it brings forth many fruits." Proclaiming Christ as the hero of the Gospel. "No man has ever spoken like this man." The young like to meditate on that which is great, that which surpasses them. For example, many young people collect things regarding men who are successful in sports.
3. To present the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ unfolds the dynamism of young people. They acknowledge that they are members of a body which they must contribute to build. "The Church is us, we are the Church." Everyone is convinced of the need to play their role in the Church. This is but a step away from total commitment to the priestly or religious life.
Concerned by the problem of young people in our present day world, I think ii is my duty to interest the Synod in young people, who represent the future of society and the Church. One cannot talk about the new evangelization without including young people.
[00256-02.05]  [Original text: French]
I will speak about remembering the martyrs. This topic does not appear in "Instrumentum Laboris", but is a central point the the Apostolic Letter "Tertio Millennio Adveniente". In this document Pope John Paul II wrote "At the end of the second millennium, the Church has once again become a Church of martyrs" (No.37). And in the same number he finally added: "This witness must not be forgotten" (Ibid). On its part, the Central Committee for the Great Jubilee asked for there to be a Commission for the "New Martyrs" among the various commissions.
The Church in El Salvador has been blessed by the grace of martyrdom. Among the witnesses of Christ the most well known one is Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero. In 1983 the Pope called him "a zealous pastor for whom his love to God and the service to his brothers and sisters reached the supreme offering of his life in a violent way". Three yeas later, during his second visit to my country, the Holy Father said: "I am pleased his memory remains alive among you".
One of the preparatory Documents in San Domingo interpreted with joy the gift of martyrdom "We live in a Church of martyrs and we are a Church of martyrs and of people who have been persecuted". It is worthy evidence that the Gospel has penetrated in men and women of our communities, marked on the cross and in the resurrection, due to love for God and our brothers and sisters" (Second Relatio, chap. 4,5).
In the case of Archbishop Romero, Providence left very clear marks for who is sincerely seeking the truth about his life and death. In fact, Archbishop Romero left his Diary - a faithful mirror of his pastor’s heart. He also left us the notes of his last spiritual retreat, where he offered his life at receiving the news of the imminent danger of death. And as if this was not enough, the Lord granted him the grace of shedding his blood in a moment when he was about to offer the bread and wine of sacrifice at the altar. For this reason "as in ancient times of the Church, we wish to talk about the ‘acts of the martyrs’ not to forget this witness" (Second Relatio, Chap.6,2.).
[00260-02.04]  [Original text: Castilian]
As an Italian bishop invited to attend this Special Synod, I would only like to focus on two simple points.
The first one is the ‘resonance’ of what I have heard here. The challenges which the Churches of America must face are also a genuine challenge for the Italian Church (I am referring, for example, to the cultural challenge). Therefore, some of the Synodal Fathers have stated as strategic or priority choices some things that should also be duly taken into account by us (for example the role of the lay faithful in a pluralist, multi-faceted society; our communities must urgent become authoritative in a way which is dynamic and alternative to the spirit of the world, especially in terms of ‘communio’).
The second point concerns relationships between Italy and the Americas, and especially the Italian Church with the churches on the American continent. While at the beginning of this century many Italians migrated (and the Church also followed them through her works, such as that of the Blessed G.B. Scalabrini, created for immigrants), there have also been many Italian missionaries over the centuries, as there still are today. There are approximately 7,500 people (priests, religious men and women, lay faithful) in Latin America today, to which we should add about 550 missionaries working in North America.
Over recent years, the Italian Church has had to face a situation which requires careful consideration: there are fewer missionaries leaving, while economic aid by the Italian Church to the Third World remains good (and is actually increasing). There are various causes for this. Undoubtedly, however, the invitation made in Postquam Apostoli requires us to have renewed courage and to rethink the basis of pastoral work in Italy. This is not easy. On the positive side, however, keeping the missionary channel open can only provide valuable stimulus and new light.
[00261-02.04]  [Original text: Italian]
Today’s crisis is an anthropological one. We have to respond with a Christian concept of man, which has its maximum expression in Christ, the true God and the true Man; who must express everyone’s human condition.
Man was created by God and derives his divine origin from Him. However, man is called upon to live in the fullness of his human condition in Christ. All human rights are founded on the fact that we are the image of God.
All of man’s conduct must aim at the imitation of Jesus, loving as He loved God and men.
The freedom of man must also be like Christ. The real act of freedom is love.
We should not exploit the opportunity of freedom for injustice and egoism. Freedom must be a moral framework which basically links it to truth.
Man’s path ends only in heaven, which is not utopia but rather eschatology. This is why there is always something more to do on earth.
This is the spirit which should animate those of us who wish to serve God by serving America, in the unity of faith and inspired by valor and virtue.
[00264-02.04]  [Original text: Castilian]
This intervention reflects on the relief and development carried on by Catholic Relief Services (CRS), the agency of the Catholic Bishops of the United States. Founded in response to the needs of war shattered Europe, the work of CRS has shifted to the needs of the Southern Hemisphere and the post war struggle for human and economic development, especially centered in Africa, Asia and Latin America. CRS has been in direct contact with the enormous socio-economic changes which have taken place in Latin America. Most importantly, CRS has been able to experience the creative pastoral developments which have reshaped Latin America. CRS has been privileged to experience the work of evangelization at close range. The Agency has also changed as the needs and challenges of the Church in Latin America has changed. These changes have been articulated by local churches through their Episcopal conferences, pastoral ministries and base communities. In response to this CRS now focuses on a dual mission of ecclesial solidarity and work for justice. CRS sees its ministry in terms of two major challenges: collaboration with other local churches and advocacy within the United States. The task of providing moral direction to the highly complex socio-economic forces of our time must be addressed from within nations and across natural boundaries simultaneously. In its work of relief and development CRS wants to be an effective equal partner with local Churches in Central and South America and the Caribbean Region. Partnership here means attending scrupulously to the pastoral vision, practices and goals of the local church in the countries where CRS works. The directive force for partnership, in our view, rest with the local church. We seek to provide a collaborative presence enhancing what is already underway in the local church. The other dimension of our ministry finds principal expression in the United States. It is that of advocacy. This is always done in collaboration with and in support of our Episcopal conference, we seek to combine the experience of CRS with the social teaching of the Church to create a vision and a voice addressing Catholics and our fellow citizens about the demands of justice in a global economy.
[00149-02.02]  [Original text: English]
This Seventeenth General Congregation concluded at 7:20pm, with the prayer "Angelus Domini". There were 206 Fathers present.
The General Discussion, in the Hall, on the Synodal theme, concluded with this General Congregation. There were 215 Synodal Fathers who intervened.
The President Delegate on duty has communicated that those Auditors, who for lack of time have not been able to take the floor in Audtion II, will be heard in a successive General Congregation; the date is to be set by the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.
Tomorrow morning, 28 November 1997, the Eighteenth General Congregation will take place and will regard the Relation Post Disceptationem (Relation after the Discussion).