The Holy See Search



of the Commission for information of the
30 September-27 October 2001

"The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World"

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


07 - 02.10.2001



Published below is the intervention by H. B. Nerses Bedros XIX TARMOUNI, Patriarch of Cilicia of the Armenians (Lebanon), not contained in Bulletin No. 5 of 01.10.2001:

Our only hope is Christ (1 Tim 1:1). Therefore, we should lead the 21st Century, secularized, desacralized man subjected to religious relativism to Jesus Christ to infuse Christian hope in him. Without evangelization, without the Cross of Christ, man no longer has roots, he is destroyed. The Bishop has a huge amount of tasks, but his first duty remains evangelization.

Just as the Supreme Shepherd of the Church is the Pope, the Bishop will be vigilant that nothing decreed be out of harmony with him. But the local churches are not vicariates of Rome. An excessive centralization by Rome could suffocate the riches of the particular Churches. This means finding the right measure. As well as ensuring communion within the Roman Curia.

A mass Church no longer exists, there is the Church of Witnesses. The first witness of the Church is the Bishop. His personal witness is more influential than his ecclesial authority.

Looking out onto the world gives a sad view. Millions of children in European countries are not baptized. The sects are teaming. Another dangerous sign is the total indifference towards the person of Christ.

But a glimpse of the Risen Christ is a source of immense hope and joy. Thousands of apostles unceasingly bear Christ to those who do not know Him yet, or do not know Him well.

The Holy Spirit has already incited concrete answers to the challenges of modern times. The Bishop should discern the signs of the Holy Spirit in the New Communities. The Bishop must welcome and guide, in a fatherly way, these Movements and help Christians become living Witnesses of the Gospel, like what is achieved for example in the Neo-Catechumenal Communities. Thus, the Bishop will concretely help Christians to board the barque of Peter and "launch forth" at the breath of the Holy Spirit.

[00063-02.03] [in008] [Original text: French]


At 17:00 today, Tuesday October 2nd 2001, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the prayer Pro Felici Synodi Exitu, the Fourth General Congregation of the X Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops took place, for the continuation of the interventions by the Synodal Fathers in the Hall on the Synodal theme The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World. President Delegate on duty was H. Em. Card. Bernard AGRE, Archbishop of Abidjan.

At the opening of this General Congregation, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, H. Em. Card. Jan Pieter SCHOTTE, C.I.C.M., made known the composition of the Commission for the message. In this Bulletin, the composition of the Commission is published.

At the end of this General Congregation, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops gave the following communication:

Our calendar shows that the first session of the working gourps will be held tomorrow morning.

Article Fifty (50) of our Vademecum mentions the first meeting of the circuli minores. Please follow the reading of this article (the article is read).

Tomorrow the groups will meet at 9 o’clock, directly at the meting place, where the Hora Tertia will be celebrated by each group.

With regard to the election of the moderator of the groups, please consider, in the Vademecum, Articles Fifty-One (51) and Fifty-Two (52).

Especially noteworthy is the rule on the holding of multiple offices, which is explicitly prohibited in Article Fifty-Two, letter "a" (52, a) (the articles are read).

Since the election of the moderators is to be held tomorrow morning, all the moderators of the groups are asked to meet tomorrow afternoon at 4 o’clock in Hall No. Five on the second floor to discuss their functions.

The definitive list of working groups, after the introduction of all the changes, can be found in your personal pigeon-holes in the Atrium as soon as you leave this hall. The same list will also show the designated meeting place for each group.

[00086-02.03] [nnnnn] [Original text: Latin]

This General Congregation ended at 7.05 p.m.with the prayer Angelus Domini and 234 Fathers were present.


The following Fathers intervened:

Below are the summaries of the interventions:

H. Em. Card. Norberto RIVERA CARRERA, Archbishop of Mexico Cit (Mexico).

A contemporary phenomenon is the spread of the so-called "megalopolises", enormous human agglomerates which are a challenge to the task of the New Evangelization, and in which the traditional form of episcopal service seems to be outdated.

An almost spontaneous response has been to subdivide these large cities into various dioceses. This solution does not seem to be unsuitable to us when it is a matter of human groups in the suburbs, or satellite cities with their own identity. Nevertheless, this solution becomes more problematic when it is proposed to subdivide the city itself, its most traditional and sensitive structure. Above all, if it is a city conserving administrative, civil, political and economic unity.

In order to favour communion, decentralization and missionary efficiency, the alternative of not subdividing seem to be giving better results, with a diocesan bishop assisted by a group of auxiliary bishops in charge of the territories under his care, and with a well defined distribution of functions such as Vicars General, Episcopal Vicars and members of the Episcopal Council, though always considering the diocesan Bishop as the center of communion.

This juridical figure of a diocesan bishop with various auxiliary bishops seems to ensure the decentralization of services and at the same time a level of overall evangelization firmly sustained by the unifying ministry of the diocesan bishop. In practice, this reality is almost impossible, since they are independent dioceses.

[00051-02.03] [in033] [Original text: Spanish]

H. Em. Card. Johannes Adrianus SIMONIS, Archbishop of Utrecht, President of the Episcopal Conference (Netherlands)

The Directory of Bishops deals with the permanent formation of priests. But permanent formation is also necessary for Bishops. I was young and inexperienced when, thirty years ago, I began as a Bishop. Thinking back, I understand how important formation is, but also how difficult it is to find a place for it in an already full agenda. Therefore, I hope that there will be some impetus from outside that, for example, indicates a framework to integrate permanent formation in our life as Bishops.

The Bishop must have an apostolic spirit: he is sent out into the world. Like a true "pontifex", he must build a bridge between the Gospel and the world. If this is not achieved, we must also blame ourselves, in part. Honestly, we must admit that we are not always sufficiently well prepared for our missionary task. I see four themes for the permanent formation of Bishops:

1. The development of a spirituality of attention and marvel. The Bishop must be open to the signs of hope in the world. The Spirit of God acts therein, even in the persons still searching.

2. Acquiring the necessary abilities to bear witness in these times. The Bishop must be well informed of the developments of society. He must also learn how to find the right words and use the right tone, starting from an authentic faith. This way the Bishop acquires great respect when intervening in public life.

3. Keeping up with the developments of theological sciences. These are on motion in such a way that it would be irresponsible of the Bishops not keeping up with them.

4. Learn to collaborate. Collaboration with his priests and deacons and certainly with the lay women and men is an enrichment for the Bishop and at the same time is a continuous learning process.

[00050-02.03] [in034] [Original text: Italian]

H. Em. Card. Julius Riyadi DARMAATMADJA, S.J., Archbishop of Jakarta (Indonesia).

Both the First and the Second Vatican Councils give a clear understanding of the vocation of the bishops. 1. Behind those sentences lies a very unified world: the Christian world or at least a world with nearly only Christian values underneath all daily, personal as well as public activities. When we take into our consideration of the situation in Asia or Africa, we are aware, that the societies they live in are a very pluralistic one. Asia, for example, is characterized by rapid social change, by cultural and religious pluralism and by various forms of injustice and widespread poverty. 2. The bishops have new opportunities to serve ; as the guardian of the unity of the Kingdom of God. We, as bishops, are called to have a different attitude with creative thinking . and new structural initiatives to serve the Lord in the service of the people of God in this pluralistic society. In the Semitic religious streams In Asia we meet with the 'syncretism' or 'spontaneous interculturation'. To be a bishop in this condition, one should learn to listen to the whisper of the Spirit, how one could lead the faithful to live a healthy open Christian life. Religion as faith experience belongs to the private or personal sphere while religion as social institution belongs to the public or civic sphere. Among mobile classes in society new religious movements have arisen as well as indifference to formal religious observance. It is the duty of a bishop to help the people of God to find new ways among so many indifferentism and new religious movements. While there are some remarkable exceptions, on the whole in the public sphere, world religions in Asia seem to be almost impenetrable to each other. This is a real challenge to the Christian mission. It is also a great challenge for the leadership of the bishops. In the public sphere the Catholic Church in Asia sometimes presents herself as a powerful social institution and an effective organization; but very often is not seen as an amiable friend and a spiritual guide especially on a continent where the religious and spiritual is so much a part of public life. The Church is sometimes even seen as an obstacle or threat to national integration and religious or cultural identity. The Church remains foreign in its lifestyle, in its institutional structure, in its worship in its western trained leadership and in its theology. Christian rituals often remain formal, neither spontaneous nor particularly Asian. There is a gap between leader and ordinary believers in the Church: a fortiori with members of other faiths. Our challenge is to make us friends of ail fellow Asians and to be regarded as friends by ail, in order to be able to become "the sacrament of the union between God and men and among men with one another" . It is also the duty of a Bishop to lead his Church to do something to meet the challenge of the existing structural injustice and poverty in the society together with those people of good will. The whole Church must make: present and put into practice Christ’s love which saves people and gives them new life in him. In addition to offering hope and new life in Jesus Christ, in close collaboration with those of different religions and believes, the Church should serve directly the people who are needy in so many ways and should also take part in the task of striving to improve human life with so many unjust structures, whether in the economic, political, cultural or governmental realms, as well as of building a new culture of life characterized by trust, love, truth honesty and justice. These are our tasks as bishops. In this complex situation there are some signs of hope. There are religious men and women living close to the people. There is increasing involvement in interreligious dialogue. There is increasing communion and communication between Churches, shown for instance in the sharing of resources and personnel. In areas where political regimes obstruct the life of the religions, perseverance in the faith has become the primary witness. The Church is appreciated for her profound social concern and charitable works such as schools, hospitals, orphanages, works for refugees etc. Here we, the bishops, could give strength and accompany the faithful, to be the sign of love, friendship and hope among all believers, through our words and actions, through our pastoral letters and our personal relationships with all men and women of good will. In short, the bishops should make sure, that through lay people's creative and innovative services to all the faithful, the good news of the love of God is proclaimed in a pluralistic world.

[00049-02.03] [in035] [Original text: English]

H. Em.Card. Cláudio HUMMES, O.F.M., Archbishop of São Paulo (Brazil.).

Today, in the globalized and pluralistic world, dialogue is a necessity. Especially in times of conflict and general apprehensions, like today after the terrorist attempt of September 11th in the United States.

Dialogue and negotiation are important to avoid war and to build world peace. War is always the worst way of resolving conflicts. Despite the fact that self-defense is legitimate and, who know, necessary for individuals, groups and peoples, it must however be stopped in every way of becoming a war, and never be violent against the innocent. War brings only death, destruction, suffering, and back-sliding.

In the specific religious field, dialogue is yet more unrenounceable because today the differences of religions make the common task of world peace and the promotion of human rights more difficult in the world, as would be needed.

In the ecumenical dialogue as well as the inter-religious one, and during the present historical moment especially with the Muslim religion, this must continue unceasingly...

However, the Church must dialogue today, more than ever, with post-modern, urban and pluralistic society and with all the sectors that make it up, such as culture, science, technology, economy, the market, the financial world, politics and the means of communication, especially through the laity.

The Bishop must be the promoter of this dialogue in his diocese, at all levels. Obviously he must also cultivate it within the Church, especially with his priests and his communities.

To be the promoter of dialogue and peace is the fundamental duty of the Bishop. Paul VI said that dialogue is the new name of charity. Who knows, perhaps today it is also the new name for hope.

[00048-02.03] [in036] [Original text: Italian]

H.E. Most Rev. Vincent LOGAN, Bishop of Dunkeld (Scotland).

The Theology of Communion

In the local churches there has been some movement on the collegiality front since Vatican II. But have we really lived out and tested the VISION of Vatican II for Bishops' Conferences?

The THEORY of Bishops' Conferences has to be supported by an agreed and well-established PROCESS. Also at the universal level we need to recapture Vatican II's inspired concepts of collegiality and communion. In this context the relationship of individual Bishops and Bishops' Conferences to the Holy See are key considerations.

Spirituality of Communion

The Theology of Communion requires a SPIRITUALITY of Communion. This spirituality is based on DISCERNMENT which for a Bishop in his Diocese is primarily a virtue of the spiritual rather than the administrative sphere.

Practical issues

Further considerations need to be given to the Bishops' fellowship with and collaboration with his priests.

We need innovative strategies for fostering vocations.

Formation for candidates for the Episcopacy should be more concerned with the Theology and Spirituality of communion than with accountancy, buildings etc.,.

For the Bishop to be prophetic in language, he must also be prophetic in life-style.

We need to move emphasis from guarding community to building community.

More initiatives are needed in the field of ecumenism.

Bishops should have the option of retiring earlier than 75 yrs. ...; e.g. after 25 years in the episcopacy.

Are we Bishops fully committed to addressing the need for a new evangelization for a new century and a new millennium?

[00047-02.03] [in037] [Original text: English]

H. E. Most Rev. Raymond John LAHEY, Bishop of Saint George’s (Canada).

Usually translated as oversight, the term episcope in the biblical tradition is first understood instead in terms of visitation, specifically the visitation of God. In the New Testament, this visitation is messianic and salvific, fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

This deepened understanding of episcope allows a new look at the bishop’s ministry . The bishop then is not first an overseer but rather one who keeps alive for his people God's saving mysteries. Because the bishop serves as sacrament of God's visitation in Jesus Christ, he ensures that his local church is a place where people can experience the first quality of this visitation: God's mercy. (See Luke 1:78)

A richer sense of episcope also makes clearer why the Second Vatican Council called bishops 'the vicars and legates of Christ ' for their people. The bishop is Christ's vicar and legate precisely because he comes among God's people as the sacrament of the divine mercy that Christ, their Head and Savior, has gained for them.

This understanding of episcope gives new insights into the three-fold munera often associated with the bishop’s office. The bishop keeps alive the memory of God's saving visitation by his preaching and teaching. In celebrating the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, he makes present anew in each successive age the graced encounter of God's visit. His duty of governing is best realized when he ensures that mercy is never abstract within the local Church, but is practiced as God's visitation demands.

In an age where hope is important, this proclamation, celebration, and living out of God's merciful visitation will keep the local church from any perception of being a church that excludes. It will have as its qualities compassion, healing, forgiveness and welcome. These will conform the Church instead to the image of Christ, its great 'Shepherd and Bishop' (1 Peter 2:25), who came to seek out the lost and the scattered.

[00045-02.04] [in039] [Original text: English]

H. Em. Card. Desmond CONNELL, Archbishop of Dublin (Irlanda).

In Novo millenio ineunte, the Pope calls for the development of ‘spirituality of communion'. This is to fulfill the aim of Vatican II to allow the sacramental nature of the Church as sign and instrument of participation in God ' s life to appear more clearly so as to draw all people into a profound community of life. Certain obstacles to this must be overcome. The first is the bias against institutions. Democratic society institutionalizes pluralism. In its creed and dogmas the Church appears to institutionalize truth. But the truth of the Church is more than a secular system passed on from some long-deceased author. It is a sacramental communion of life. A second obstacle is that form of spirituality that amounts to 'religion without the rules'. The institutional nature of the Church and of the episcopate is essential but irreducible to that which characterizes purely human institutions. It preserves the historical continuity with what Christ accomplished on earth, but it is trans-historical as well because by the working of the Holy Spirit given to the Church at Pentecost it both signifies and makes present the Risen Christ as the ever-present source of its life. The institution must be seen to be at the service of the gift of divine life. And that is why the ministry of the Bishop has to be seen as service.

[00044-02.03] [in040] [Original text: English]

H. Em. Card. Francis ARINZE, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue (Vatican City).

The Church's approach to people of other religions is built on her faith in Jesus Christ. All humanity belongs to Christ, the first born of all creation (cf. Col 1:15). For the Church, interreligious dialogue or collaboration is marked with hope, hope that ultimately everyone; and everything will be reconciled in Christ, the Lord of history and the desired of all hearts.

The bishop does not have a choice in the world of today to promote interreligious dialogue or not to promote it. Religious plurality is a fact in most societies. Population movements for economic, cultural, political or other reasons have been facilitated by modern means of travel. Cultures, religions and languages are meeting as never before in human history.

Orthopraxis has to be based on orthodoxy. The bishop is above all the teacher of the doctrine of the faith. Of course he has to keep watch over theological ideas on interreligious dialogue in his area. But, even more important, he has to feed his people with the rich doctrine enshrined in LG, GS, AG, NA, Red. Missio, Dominus Jesus, Dialogue and Mission and Dialogue and Proclamation. The bishop should promote, encourage and guide theological reflection on matters touching dialogue.

There is a growing number of initiatives on interreligious dialogue by individuals and institutions of varying degrees of credibility. The bishop will need much prudence to decide where to be involved and where not to. Syncretism and relativism are real dangers.

Most bishops will find it useful, sometimes even necessary, to have a small commission of capable and willing people to see that this dimension of the diocesan apostolate is carried out properly.

A Christian who meets people of other religions is first of all a witness to Christ. Through that Christian, the other believers should see, hear, experience, touch, speak with and work with Christ.

While interreligious dialogue may start with the horizontal dimension - joint pursuit of justice, peace, harmony and social values - it should above all keep clearly in sight the vertical dimension - looking for God, search for religious truth, effort at greater openness to divine action.

[00065-02.03] [in043] [Original text: English]

H.E. Most Rev. Amédée GRAB, O.S.B., Bishop of Chur President of the Council of the European Episcopal Conferences (Switzerland).

Also as President of the Council of the Episcopal Conferences of Europe (CCEE) I hope that this Synod will help us to go more deeply into the relationships forming the episcopal ministry: Bishop - Universal Church - Episcopal Conferences - Continental Episcopal Bodies - for an increased quality in experiencing the collegiality and spirituality of communion.

Here are come observations in this regard.

It is a matter of going more deeply into each task so that it will be an expression of the single Trinitarian communion which the Son has brought to the earth and which the Church is called upon to express.

If we delve into the ministry of the Bishop of a particular Church, we discover that the service of the universality of the Church is a constituent part. This delving makes us rediscover the "Catholicity" of each Bishop and particular Church, opening great prospects in an epoch of globalization.

If we look deeply to understand the service to the unity of the Church which is typical of the Roman Pontiff and his direct collaborators, we realize that it does not eliminate local peculiarities, but rather fulfills them. Unit does not, in fact, eliminate differences, but arises thanks to them. We know that this is also decisive for the ecumenical question.

I think that the time has come to delve into the experience of the Synod itself. There is a general consensus that the Synod in these decades has been an extraordinary experience of collegiality among bishops, but some question shave also arisen as to the current method and procedures of the Synod which could be useful for continuing this reflection.

The first question that emerges regards the lack of sufficient time to formulate in a Synodal, unified manner truly guided by the basic topic and by a theological vision, those elements emerging in the contributions in the plenary sessions and in the work of the circuli minores.

The second question, related to the first one, lies in the relationship between the organs of the Synod having responsibility (persons and commissions) and the Synodal process itself. We know the value of the work of the relators and commissions entrusted with drawing up the final texts, though there is the risk that the works of the Synod are overly centered on individuals.

There is also a widely felt need to make the Episcopal Conferences increasingly an occasion for achieving communion, rather than just organizational instruments.

Finally, I would like to stress the role of the bodies uniting the Episcopal Conferences on the continental or regional level (IL no. 72). They have authority as bodies of collegiality allowing the Episcopal Conferences to face together the challenges with continental dimensions; the encounter of the Gospel with culture, the contribution of the Churches in forming society, ethical problems (bioethics, peace, ecology) the ecumenical path.....

To conclude, I would like to say that communion is the occasion for faith and hope also for us Bishops. It is, however, a matter of understanding communion in its depth; it is the reality where the Spirit of the Arisen Lord is present, the One whom the world awaits with hope.

[00066-02.04] [in044] [Original text: Italian]

H. E. Most Rev. Norbert BRUNNER, Bishop of Sion (Switzerland).

One of the themes central to the teachings on Bishops of the Council concerns the effective collegiality of all Bishops with the Holy Father in the three tasks of teaching, of sanctification and the governing of the universal Church and in the single local Churches, or the relationship of the Bishops and the episcopal Conferences with the Holy Father and the Curia. With regards to this, the Council established that the Synod of Bishops should be the privileged tool of such an effective collegiality.

Today however, we must take note that all the measures taken still have not found their meaning or their objective. Also, once again we ask, with serious preoccupation, which values do the pastoral needs of the single local Churches have for the Roman Curia.

Therefore, we must look for efficient forms that allow us to give, or be themselves, valid answers for the single local Churches. The Holy Father himself asks us to do this. For these reflections to lead to valid solution that recognize and respect the plurality of the unity, the following conditions must be respected:

41. The Church needs an "efficient organ of collegiality", that is to say a Synod, where all the regions of the universal Church are represented by delegates freely chosen to meet regularly to work with the Pope:

42. Subsidiary structures are needed within the Church. At the universal level of the Church, what is necessary for the unity of the Church should be the only things resolved centrally.

43. The competencies of each level must be maintained and there must be trust in the responsibility of the local bishops, within the Church.

44. In the Church, we need a Curia that recognizes the pastoral needs of the local Churches and supports the responses to these needs.

Only this way will he be able to achieve his authentic duty, which consists in being at the service of the guidance of the universal Church, entrusted to the Episcopal College and the Pope and under the authority of the latter.

[00067-02.03] [in045] [Original text: German]

H.E. Most Rev. Stephen Joseph REICHERT, O.F.M. Cap., Bishop of Mendi, President of the Episcopal Conference (Papua New Guinea).

The faithful increasingly envision a new image of Bishop, a shepherd amidst his people and closer to them in a role as father, brother and friend. They see him as more accessible and living a simpler life, more attentive to the needs of the world and oftentimes a sign of contradiction in the defence of truth (Instrumentum Laboris n. 9.5).

To enable him to effectively carry out the ministry given to him, the Bishop must form his community of priests (presbyterium) into a true communion of brothers and co-workers. This bond is entirely essential, for it is through this unique sacerdotal college that the threefold ministry of Christ to His Church is carried out. The consultation process for choosing or transferring Bishops should give special emphasis to human and spiritual qualities which equip a Bishop to carry out the task of establishing a relationship of true communion within his presbyterium. An Episcopal candidate's ability to establish authentic relationships with fellow priests, his talent for bringing priests with opposing opinions together, his gift for recognising and bringing out the best qualities in others for the benefit of all, his capacity for inspiring love and respect from his co-workers, are as important as a candidate's reputation for faithfulness to the Church and his concern for personal holiness. It would also seem very important to seek advice from as many priests of the diocese as possible in the consultation process for choosing their Bishop.

The community of priests can easily lose its focus and morale in the absence of the Bishop. Therefore, a diocese should not be left vacant for a long time after the retirement, transfer or death of a Bishop.

The canonical age for retirement of a Bishop should be thoroughly studied with a view toward lowering it, especially in those nations where the average life-span is much lower than in first-world countries. Greater compassion and flexibility with regard to retirement options should be shown to Bishops who feel they are no longer able to competently lead their community of priests because of age and waning energy.

[00068-02.05] [in046] [Original text: English]

H. Em. Card. Jorge Mario BERGOGLIO, S.J., Archbishop of Buenos Aires (Argentina).

The bishop is he who keeps watch; he cares for hope keeping watch for his people. A spiritual attitude is that which places the emphasis overseeing the flock with a "look of togetherness"; it is the bishop who cares for everything which maintains the cohesion of the flock. Another spiritual attitude places the emphasis on watching over, paying attention to danger. Both the attitudes have to do with the essence of the episcopal mission and they acquire all of their strength of this attitude that is considered the most essential, and that consists of keeping watch. One of the strongest images of this attitude is that of the Exodus, in which it is said that Yahweh will keep watch over his people during Easter night, therefore called "the eve". What I would like to underline is the peculiar profoundness that the act of keeping watch has, in respect to overseeing in a more general way or a more punctual watch. To oversee refers more to the care of the doctrine and of the customs, while to keep watch alludes rather to the caring that there is sun and light in our hearts. To watch over speaks of being on the lookout for the advance of imminent danger, while keeping watch speaks of holding up with patience the processes through which the Lord carries ahead the salvation of his people. To watch over is sufficient to be awake, astute, quick. To keep watch one needs to be more meek, more patient, and more constant in giving charity. To oversee and to watch over they speak of a certain necessary control. On the other hand, to keep watch one speaks of hope, the hope of the merciful Father who keeps watch over the process of the hearts of his children. To keep watch manifests and consolidates the parresia of the bishop, who displays the Hope "without altering the Cross of Christ".

Together with the image of Yahweh who keeps watch over the great exodus of the people of the alliance, there is another image, more familiar but equally strong: that of Saint Joseph. It is he who keeps watch until he falls asleep dreaming over Baby Jesus and Mother. From this the deep keeping watch of Joseph gives birth to that silent look that signifies he is able to care for his little flock with poor means; and thus ‘sprouts’ also the vigilant and astute look which succeeded in avoiding all the dangers which threatened the Baby Jesus.

[00069-02.03] [ino47] [Original text: Spanish]

H.E. Most Rev. Luis MORALES REYES, Archbishop of San Luis Potosi, President of the Episcopal Conference (Mexico).

My intervention is a respectful invitation to examine one’s conscience on "Collegiality and Peter’s ministry", from the contemplation of the Lord, as Teacher of the Apostolic College.

The unique relationship of Jesus with Peter is in different biblical passages. The unique mission which Jesus bestows upon Peter, that is to say, is a visible foundation of the Church with the power to bind and unbind (Mt 16:18). However, the role of Shepherd is not only of Peter, but also of the other Apostles (Mt 10:6). Jesus appears as the Teacher of the College of the Twelve. He forms them in a sort of itinerant classroom of catechesis (Mk 10:32).

The Primacy of Peter is a gift of God to his People. Faithfulness to this primacy is an integral and unrenounceable part of the Christian faith. Episcopal collegiality must be understood in the light of the sources of revelation and not of human or social models with which there could be some apparent resemblance.

The biblical data and teaching of the Church require that this Synodal Assembly study further in-depth the theme of collegiality spirituality in line with the "Novo Millennio Ineunte", in order to make it more dynamic and vital.

Lastly, I wish to express a yearning:

to continue studying in-depth the theological and legal nature of the Conferences of bishops, in particular with regard to their collegial teaching and their relationships with the Roman Curia, and may "collegiality spirituality" permeate and transform them in order to make each Conference "the home and school for communion" (Cf. NMI, 43).

[00070-02.04] [ln048] [Original text: Spanish]

H.E. Most Rev. Gilles CAZABON, O.M.I., Bishop of Saint-Jérôme (Canada).

The Bishop has two passions: to live with Christ and to be in solidarity with the men and the women of his era. These two passions are at the heart of his spirituality, giving it form and vitality. They are so fundamental to the exercise of his ministry that he can say, ‘Christ is my life’ and also, ‘we have made ourselves all for all.’ Christ becomes the defining element of his life to such an extent that without his Divine Presence, his life is senseless and he becomes unable to fulfill his ministry.

In the Bishop’s ministry, Christ is both received and given. He is received in the sacraments presided by the Bishop, united in his church; in the meditation of the Gospel, received by the Bishop before he can proclaim it; in the Bishop’s ministry exercised in the light of the Spirit active in the life of the world and of the people of his diocese. Christ is given in the proclamation of the Gospel for the life of the world, in the celebration of the sacraments, profound actions by which Christ heralds a new world and in the daily leadership of his diocese exemplifying at all times the proximity of God to his people.

The discovery of Christ, ever renewed, takes place within a particular people since the Episcopal ordination puts the Bishop at the service of the Church so as to be, in the image of Christ, Good Pastor and Servant. Today in Canada, our pilgrimage with the men and women of our time leads us with, albeit renewed effort, to deepen out understanding of Christ’s mystery and His Pascal event. Our co-citizens, of all ages, formed by a different culture, are faced with new challenges and ask new questions. When perplexed and overwhelmed by such new questions and new life styles it is for the Bishop with his people to seek answers in the Gospel’s ever newness, breaking open vistas of liberty that give rise to new hope.

[00064-02.03] [ino49] [Original text: English]


Below is the complete composition of the Commission for the Message:

H.E. Most Rev. Estanislao Esteban KARLIC, Archbishop of Paraná (Argentina),

President of the Episcopal Conference, President of the Commission for the Message of the Synod of Bishops.

  • H.E. Most Rev. Olivier DE BERRANGER, Bishop of Saint-Denis in France, Vice President of the Commission for the Message of the Synod of Bishops.

  • H. Em. Card. Geraldo MAJELLA AGNELO, Archbishop of São Salvador da Bahia (Brazil).

  • H. Em. Card. Francis Eugene GEORGE, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago (United States of America).

  • H. B. Michel SABBAH, Patriarch of Jerusalem of the Latins, President of the Episcopal Conference (Jerusalem).

  • H.E. Most Rev. Henry Sebastian D'SOUZA, Archbishop of Calcutta, President of the Episcopal Conference (India).

  • H.E. Most Rev. Amédée GRAB, O.S.B., Bishop of Chur, President of the Council of the European Episcopal Conferences (Switzerland).

  • H.E. Most Rev. Laurent MONSENGWO PASINYA, Archbishop of Kisangani, President of the "Symposium des Conferences Episcopales d'Afrique and de Madagascar" (S.C.E.A.M., Democratic Republic of Congo).

  • H.E. Most Rev. George PELL, Archbishop of Sydney (Australia).

  • H.E. Most Rev. Cosmo Francesco RUPPI, Archbishop of Lecce (Italy).

  • H.E. Most Rev. Joseph KHOURY, Bishop of Saint-Maron de Montréal of the Maronites (Canada).

  • Rev. Fr. Peter-Hans KOLVENBACH, S.J., Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

[00087-02.02] [NNNNN] [Original text: Italian]



Tomorrow morning the work of the Working Groups will begin, with the election of the Moderators and the start of the debate on the theme of the X Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

The Eighth General Congregation will take place tomorrow afternoon, October 3rd 2001, for the continuation of the interventions in the Hall on the Synodal theme.


The second briefing for the language groups will take place tomorrow Wednesday October 3rd 2001 at 13:10 (in the briefing locations and with the Press Officers indicated in Bulletin No. 2).

We would like to remind the audio-visual operators (cameramen and technicians) that they must request their access permit (restricted) from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.


The third pool for the Synod Hall will be formed for the opening prayer of the Sixth General Congregation of Thursday morning, October 4th 2001.

In the Information and Accreditation Office of the Press Office of the Holy See (at the entrance, to the right) the lists for registration to the pool will be available to the editors.

We would like to remind the audio-visual operators (cameramen and technicians) and photographers that they must request their participation for the pool at the Synod Hall from the Pontifical Council for Social Communication.

We would like to recall all participants to the pool that they are requested to be at the Press Section at 8:30, outside the front entrance of the Paul VI Hall, where they will be called to enter the Synod Hall, always accompanied by an officer from the Press Office of the Holy See or by an officer of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.


The next Bulletin No. 8, concerning the works of the Fifth General Congregation of the X Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, tomorrow afternoon Wednesday October 3rd 2001, will be available for the accredited journalists on Thursday morning, October 4th at the opening of the Press Office of the Holy See.


Return to:

- Index Bulletin Synodus Episcoporum - X Ordinary General Assembly - 2001
  [English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish]

- Index Holy See Press Office
[English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish]