Commission for information of the
"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.
10 - 04.10.2001
After the Angelus Domini, John Paul II, before concluding the Sixth General Congregation, Thursday morning, October 4th, addressed the Synod Fathers with these words:
In an audience this morning, I received George Bush, former President of the United States of America, father of today’s President. I wished to ensure that our Assembly feels this tragedy, which has upset all of humanity, deeply. October 11th will be a day of prayer for all of us. We too will pray, from here, for the victims and for peace in the world.
[00148-02.03] [nnnnn] [Original text: Italian]
At 17:00 today, in the presence of the Holy Father, after the prayer Pro Felici Synodi Exitu, the Seventh General Congregation began 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. The President Delegate on duty was H. Em. Card. Giovanni Battista RE, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
This General Congregation ended at 18:55 with the prayer Angelus Domini and 247 Fathers were present.
The following Fathers intervened:
Below are the summaries of the interventions:
St. Paul writes to Timothy to fortify him in the "good fight" (1 Tim 6:12) to which he bore witness when the libation was poured.
Bearing witness to truth is essential for the courage of being a bishop, above all in the most significant and urgent causes, as the Gospel, the family and life are today. If the dimension of the challenge is alarming, the capacity of joyful proclamation of this central cause of humanity is stimulating, the growing dynamics of the defence of the family and humanity, vital for the future of the Church.
Beyond what the Dioceses, Conferences, parishes and movements within the Catholic Church may do, and in the dialogue with the peoples, there is increasing hope unfolding in the ecumenical sphere, as we have recently experienced in Romania, in a profound convergence, at the International Congress on the Family and Life in the Third Millennium, prepared by the Orthodox Church of Romania and the Catholic Church, in collaboration with the Pontifical Council for the Family. Something similar took place at St. Petersburg some time ago.
This good fight, also hard and difficult, is a service to humanity in truth, universe of freedom. It is a service of charity and of maternal tenderness. Is not ensuring a decent way of living, a lifestyle in the family without false alternatives, the way of preserving dignity and freedom, in the dimension of a common universal Good? How can we make people understand, in the solidity of ecclesial communion, pillar and support of the truth (1 Tim 3:15), that what is taught in the name of Christ is oriented to the good of every human person who runs the risk of painful slavery in which humanity itself would show its inhumane side, like a character of Kafka, who woke up in surprise to find himself transformed into an insect? In this good fight, made urgent by love, in the face of so much hostility, the world appears as God wants it, to whose faithful service without quarter the bishop is called.
Let us continue in the preparation of the "Lexicon" to solve ambiguities of a skilfully agreed language which creates a tactical semantic confusion. Many specialists have collaborated to clarify almost 75 entries or expressions.
Finally, together with the Archbishop of Manila, Cardinal Jaime Sin, we invite the Pastors and their delegations to the IV World Meeting of the Pope with the Families to be held in January of the year 2003.
[00139-02.02] [in114] [Original text: Spanish]
In many countries, there are serious problems with Seminary Formation, and consequently with priests. Both diocesan and religious priests, as well as religious women, are abandoning their vocation, even after ten or fifteen years. There is a tendency to be mediocre. This shows itself in the lack of a sensus fidei, and a sensus ecclesiae and the lack of priestly piety and zeal. What is missing is the deep, growing, person-to-Person intimate relationship to Christ. One cause of this could be the neglect (if not total exclusion) of popular devotions in the life of seminarians; and later on as priests.
According to Karl Rahner, we need both: the Objective Spirituality of the Bible and Liturgy as well as the Subjective Spirituality of popular devotions. These are complementary. Without the subjective dimension, there is no foundation or basis on which to build a liturgical life or to live the Word of God. Ironically, neglect of the subjective dimension (devotions) has often led to the neglect of the objective dimension (Breviary, the sacrament of penance).
The vacuum appears to be filled in three ways: firstly by entertainment (movies, videos, cable TV, internet) which could have been controlled by a sensus fidei. Secondly, by a lack of appreciation of the official teachings of the church (Magisterium),indicating a weak sensus ecclesiae. Thirdly, especially among Religious men and women, overstressing the Prophetic dimension of Christian life, to the neglect of the priestly and royal dimensions.
The result of seminary courses and lectures given to students who lack the subjective dimension of spirituality, is that the whole seminary programme is reduced to merely imparting information or vocabulary concerning Scripture, Dogma, Morals and Canon Law. Even Spirituality is taught by lectures. What is sadly missing is the Interiorization and Integration of these courses into one's life.
It is wrongly presumed that information automatically passes into action. Talcott Parsons, in his book Social Theory and Social Action, explains why this is not so. It is because all information always passes through the Culture System, the Social System and the Personality System and only then emerges into action. So, if the culture system (consumerism, hedonism and violence) is not transformed, nor is the social system (of divisions into castes and classes, races and religions) not changed nor the personality system (weaknesses, faults, failings) not corrected, we cannot expect to have good and holy priests coming out of the seminary. Instead, we will have priests who are part of the problem instead of part of the solution.
Finally, even after all this is achieved, there is a need to sustain the good formation acquired and for this, we must seriously think of community life for diocesan priests. Jesus and his apostles lived in community. This will enable them to stand firm against any corrupt priestly culture, that is, unfortunately prevailing in many places. We may have to join parishes together.
If the Synod brings about changes described above, we will have priests who are Heralds of Hope for the new millennium.
[00107-02.05] [in084] [Original text: English]
My intervention refers to Nos. 133-134 of the Instrumentum Laboris which deal with "missionary activity and cooperation" in reference to the role of the Bishop in the Church. According to the IL, "the Bishop's call and role in the Church make him first and foremost responsible for the abiding mission of bringing the gospel to those who still do not know Christ, the Redeemer of Humanity" (No. 133). I would like to underline just two of the many implications of this assertion:
First of all, this assertion implies that the bishop is cal1ed to assume not just Peter's role of caring for the f1ock that is already gathered but also Paul’s mission of reaching out to those who are not yet gathered with the flock and offer Christ to them. Peter and Paul. The pastor and the missionary. These two aspects form integral parts in the role of the bishop in the Church. In this context, the presence of congregations of consecrated life in the diocese can be a great help in insuring that the missionary dimension of the local Church is kept alive. For often the charisms of consecrated life are charisms that are general1y lived out most effectively in frontier situations.
It is rather disturbing to note that, according to statistician, David Barrett, more than 90% of our professional missionaries are primarily serving Christian populations, Leaving less than 10% to be engaged in the service of those who have not yet been evangelized or have not yet heard the Gospel of Christ. Indeed, in many places the lack of priests is absorbing many religious and missionaries into the pastoral work of the local Church away from specifical1y missionary tasks. It wil1 be the task of the Bishop to discern in the concrete which needs are the more urgent, the pastoral or the missionary . In any case, the sentiment at the Union of Superiors General was to appeal that consecrated men and women be al1owed to live out their charism at the frontiers of the Church and the margins of society.
Secondly, missioilogists today tel1 us about a shift in the understanding of mission, that is, from a purely geographical or territorial to a social or situational understanding of mission. Redemptoris Missio adverts to this fact in paragraph 37 where it speaks of "new worlds and new social phenomena". Today we prefer to speak of "missionary situations" rather than of "mission territories". One particular missionary challenge today is the increasing multi-culturality of the world. In his intervention in this Synod the other day, Archbishop Hamao, the President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples, alerted us to the phenomenon of migration that characterizes our world today. One consequence of international migration is that people of different cultures not only are in much closer contact today, oftentimes they are forced to live alongside each other. Many of the world's cities today are inhabited by widely diverse cultural groups. And often the diversity of cultures also mean a diversity of religions. Migration is changing the face of our cities.
Our ever increasingly multi-cultural world is challenging the Church to also become multi-cultural itself. A multi-cultural Church wil1 be seen by strangers and foreigners not just as a more tolerant but also a more welcoming Church. Part of the missionary task of the Bishop wil1 be to promote a multi-cultural Church - a Church, that is, that fosters recognition of the other, respect for cultural difference, and healthy interaction between cultures. And, here, I believe congregations of consecrated life have a contribution to offer. Not on1y are they mostly international congregations, but also their members often possess a wealth of experience of what it means to live in another culture. Consecrated men and women can provide assistance in promoting a truly multi-cultural Church.
[00108-02.03] [in085] [Original text: English]
In this brief presentation I would like to deal with the area of THE EPISCOPATE AS SERVICE - A TESTIMONY TO THE WORLD, under one heading viz., AVAILABILITY.
I. Bishop's availability to God by prayer, meditation and reflection on the Gospel before the Blessed Sacrament on daily basis. This availability to God must be given our prime time of the day. Here we reflect on who we are, what we are. How we relate to our people. How our Lord and master Jesus Christ related to the people. How he went about his mission (cf. Mk 3:7 -11; Lk 4:42). Here we meet the Lord face to face. We listen to him. We talk to him. We present to him our vision in our call to serve him and his people. We tell him our needs, our anxieties, our failures. We confess to him our sins and ask for forgiveness. At this moment we expose our nothingness and let him fill us with his mercy - transform us into effective instruments to proclaim his "Good News". "My grace is enough for you, my power is at its best in weakness"(2 Cor 12:9). This availability to God by prayer and meditation cannot be replaced by anything else. Neither can anything else be substituted for it. Our contact with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament gives us not only spiritual and moral strength, but also physical strength to carry our mission as he did to those who were there before we arrived. "Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and he will be for ever" (Hebr. 13:8).
II. Bishop's availability to himself
We are human, poor and weak and we carry a heavy responsibility on our shoulders. To serve our people well and to enkindle in them hope and give them courage, we need time to rest. Time to be on our own. Time when we can relax, regain lost energy. Time to be ourselves. Time here and now to be ready to take up the challenge of our ministry and service to our people - all the people within our particular Church, as whether they belong to our faith or not. Time to be for the people and with the people. Time to talk to ourselves, to listen to ourselves. Time to answer faithfully questions concerning our vocation. A choice of what to do or where to be at this time is so important that we must seek the Lord's inspiration and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Our free time should lead us to the Lord and to his people in order to serve without counting the cost. This free time should also help us to cast our nets into the deep end (cf. Jn 21 :6).
III. Bishop's availability to his people
Our followers as well as others who want us to be there when they need us. Often there is too much delegation of our availability to our collaborators on the pretext that we are too busy. Busy doing what? People come first and our administration last. Who is busier than His Holiness John Paul II? None. Here His Holiness is a great model to us. Despite his heavy responsibility he has made and continues to make himself available to the whole Church, to all people - Catholics, other believers, non believers, rich and poor, simple and great. He has traveled to every continent and yet nobody in the Curia is more informed of or up to date on matters and affairs of the Church than His Holiness. Bravo Holy FatherHis Holiness's availability to the whole Church has strengthened the communion of the local bishops with the world episcopate and in a very special way with the Bishop of Rome. Because of His Holiness's availability, it is striking to see how in a local African church the Pope really is a sign of the unity of the entire Church - a visible, "personal" sign. Only the most cynical or unrealistic theologian would dismiss this as mere naiveté or sentimentality. The Petrine ministry has a real meaning for the people here - a concrete and personalized focus. His Holiness's availability to African people during his pastoral visits has encouraged us to realize what we are and to accept with great faith what Pope Paul VI told us, "The teaching of Jesus Christ and his redemption are, in fact, the complement, the renewal and the bringing to perfection, of all that is good in human tradition. And that is why the African who becomes a Christian does not disown himself, but takes up the age-old values of tradition ‘in spirit and in truth'".
[00110-02.04] [in087] [Original text: English]
Vocations and vocational pastoral ministry have earned greater attention in the life of the Church. In fact, the Church understood and continues to understand how essential the existence of the priestly ministry is and also that of ordained ministers, inasmuch as faithful persons consecrated to the Evangelical Councils. The Church recognizes that it cannot plant its roots among men when the priestly ministry is lacking or scarce (cf. AG 16, 19).
We are all worried about the crisis in vocations during the last decades. We are aware of the growing preoccupation of the Church at the threshold of the Third Millennium. The last Supreme Pontiffs referred to this crisis, from Pius XII (Menti Nostrae, 1950), John XXIII (Allocution at the World Congress on Vocations, 1961), to the present Pontiff.
Today, the preoccupation of the Episcopate is how to keep this attention on vocations and the vocational pastoral ministry alive.
What Vatican Council II recommends must be put into practice: "It is for the bishops, however, to stimulate their people to foster vocations and to coordinate resources and efforts" (OT, 2).
The starting point will always be the one suggested by the same Council, that is to say, the involvement of all the members of the People of God in this pastoral ministry: the Christian communities, parishes, bishops, priests, religious men and women, the candidates themselves.
We must keep three fundamental elements in the pastoral ministry of vocations in mind:
1. The participation of the entire Christian community.
2. The creation of commissions at all levels: dioceses, parishes, Christian communities.
3. The creation of Vocational Centers:
-at the bishopric
-at the urban and rural parishes
-at the country communities.
These are centers for the formation and following the candidates, before being admitted to seminaries or in houses of formation for consecrated life.
[00111-02.03] [in088] [Original text: Italian]
Radicalism is a key enabling us to follow Jesus authentically and regards, above all, those who left the Cenacle after Pentecost, and therefore the bishops. In his homily at the beginning of the Synod, the Pope spoke about the poverty of the bishops. For us, this is an important sign and indeed a challenge.
It has been said that after Vatican Council II the bishops sold their palaces and carried wooden crooks. It was undoubtedly a way to draw closer to the poor. However, this does not seem to be enough. Asserting the rights of the poor without politicizing the problem, collaborating with government and non-government organizations above political divisions - this seems to be the right path for the Church to face the problem of poverty of the world. It is not enough to "dress like a poor man" but we must love poverty as Christ.
The Living Image does not only concern poverty. Jesus Christ still indicates, as the model to follow, simplicity and humility, so important in the life of the bishop. The bishop must be a father, brother and friend. He cannot be a "guru", but must be, speaking in contemporary language, a spiritual leader, a leader who guides the society of Christians. The bishop must be the spiritual authority for brethren. He is the leader in the field of his mission.
In this context, we must consider the danger of today’s democratic mentality that also wants to enter within the Church. In some places, we can see the people of God who want to elect the bishops or decide, according to their own opinion, what the teaching of the Church should be. At this time we should recall the statement of St. Augustine: "With you I am a Christian, for you I am a bishop". The Church belongs to Christ, and power in the Church comes from Christ, not from man!
The worrying phenomenon today, the falling number of courageous and authentic Christians and priests require us to return to radicalism, not only in an internal sense but also externally, in a way understandable by everybody.
[00112-02.04] [in089] [Original text: Italian]
In the middle of the radically new cultural and social processes, the bishop, united with Christ and "realistically open to the world" (IL, 12), has been the teacher of Christian hope. For our generation, Christ's harvest already became one global village. New challenges brought by the present cultural revolution require our pastoral answer. It is our duty to bring Christian optimism to the people who suffer of frustration and despair. Their dramas are the dramas of the Church who shares the joy and the pain of God's people. What remains a main challenge in the process of globalization, it is false anthropology underlying cultural transformations. In the last century, various versions of false anthropolgies resulted in two totalitarian systems. Now, in a pragmatic-commercial approach, one tries to transform human community into consumers' society . In this approach, even spiritual values are to be replaced by their commercial counterparts offered by the New Age ideology.
Global processes, strengthened by sophisticated advertising policy, create artificial needs and constitute a new hierarchy of values. It is easier to manipulate the people who focus their attention on these false needs, which very often are presented as symptoms of freedom and progress. In shaping this new mentality, the basic role is played by mass media. In their perspective, what is important must be spectacular. Had a contemporary version of a "Gospel according to the Media" replaced the Gospel of the Christian tradition, probably the spectacular moments of the Palm Sunday would be presented as a central event, while Jesus' lonely prayer in the darkness of Gethsemane would remain unnoticed.
Facing the challenge of the new brave world disorder", we the bishops, should look for new means to introduce the values of God's Kingdom in our global village. It is our duty to defend both universal human values and "the dignity of the person revealed in all its fullness in the mystery of Incarnation" (John Paul II, Cent. Annus, 47). It is our duty to witness the invisible values of our Father's Kingdom in a globalized world; such values as solidarity and holiness, reconciliation and forgiveness, freedom and truth. In a global world, we need universal values to avoid the mentality of province in which one ignores the great cultural heritage, basic both for the human and the Christian tradition. The basic role of these values was universally recognized in a special expression of human solidarity after the last terrorist attack. Unfortunately, the everyday practice brings again situations in which the law of supply and demand becomes more important than universal human values.
In our pluralistic society this practical absence of universal human values can be regarded as a symptom of a crisis of contemporary humanism. There was a time when universal values were denied on ideological basis. The supporters of the so called anthropological model of homo sovieticus claimed that both principles of ethics and principles of life are so specific in the Soviet Union that one cannot introduce there any universal standards recognized in the Christian tradition. To bring a new hope to the people in despair, it is our task, to disclose the beauty of these universal values which radiate in Christ's Sermon on the Mount. At the threshold of the new epoch in human history, Mary, the Mother of Christ, in her Magnificat expressed her optimism proclaiming the mysteries of salvation, hidden in paradoxes of human history. At the threshold of the third millennium, we try to follow her example by preaching universal values of God's Kingdom in our global village.
[00113-02.03] [in090] [Original text: English]
In the aftermath of the recent terrorist attacks in America, there lay in ruins, not only buildings and innocent lives but also the hopes and dreams of modem men and women for a peacefu1 and orderly world.
After September 11, 2001 the world confronts a threatening future with its potentials for more chaos and insecurities. Political, economic and technological formulae for a better world have reached a dead end, leaving behind a black hole of despair. Once more, the whole of creation groans in travail.
Into this landscape of despair, the Tenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops enters bearing a message, namely, that the hope of the world in these calamitous times is the bishop as the servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Will the world listen and believe that it is so?
And we bishops ourselves wonder what God intends for us to accomplish in this Synod whose unexpected rescheduling set it providentially at this crucial moment of humanity's history. Thus, the world awaits our message, our witness, our evidence that in truth we possess credibly and authentically the formula of hope.
There are two sectors of humanity that are especially in need of the hope we can offer -the poor and the youth. The poor - because tenacious poverty leads them to despair. The youth -because modem culture has exploited them and drained them of hope.
What both the poor and the youth expect of us are not the platitudes but the "witness of action" which our Instrumentum Laboris emphasized and because hope arises on1y when it is lived. It is a living and witnessing hope that we must offer, not on1y as bishops of individual dioceses but as bishops gathered collegially here, that the world might see the universal Church as possessing the message and power to renew and save the world.
What witness of lived hope can we offer? For the poor whose despair arises from their servitude to an unjust economic system, the hope we offer must include concrete measures to promote justice and bring about a more equitable distribution of the world's resources. For the youth whose despair arises from the loss of meaning and purpose in life, we need to offer the vision of a Church as a courageous and vibrant community of hope in whose life and work youth can be part of as co-architects of a new, Christ-centered humanity.
For both the poor and the youth, the Church must be clearly seen as the sacrament of hope of the world and whose message has credibility because its servants of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the bishops, live out the beatitudes in their own lives.
[00115-02.03] [pn092] [Original text: English]
The laity "form the numerical majority" of the ecclesial community. Ecclesial and ecclesiological renewal has reinterpreted the layperson as an active and participating protagonist of the prophetic people, priestly and regal. This majority characteristic calls us to greater attention towards the recognition, evaluation, formation and animation of the laity, aiming at their more aware, real and effective presence in the Church and the world.
The (new) evangelization is currently being enriched and stimulated thanks to the ministries conferred upon the lay people, men and women. This collaboration of the laity with the ordained ministry, parallel with other forms of cooperation ‘ad intra’ of the ecclesial community (services, Councils etc.) in spite of everything cannot dilute or make us forget that which is specific to the laity: their secular character. The promotion of the laity as such thus falls within their own context (the secular sphere) and not within that which is delegated (ministries which are granted), although their tasks are of great value.
Evangelii nuntiandi clearly teaches that evangelization aims at reaching not only the person but also his cultural environment. The "new evangelization", and consequently the evangelization of culture, involves the entire People of God, though not all its members and sectors in the same way. The task of the layperson, inserted in a family and in the very heart of the secular world, is to turn the Gospel into lymph and leaven of the economy, politics and culture. Thus the laity do not need an "appointment" for their activity of evangelization of culture. Indeed, they need a bishop to accompany them with adequate spirituality, to respect and understand their decisions, to encourage and comfort them in their commitments, to help and orient them in their formation.
[00116-02.03] [in093] [Original text: Spanish]
1. The divine mission of grazing His people entrusted by Christ to the Apostle continues in the Bishops, His legitimate successors; thus "anyone who listens to you listens to me; anyone who rejects you rejects me, and those who reject me reject the one who sent me" (Lk 10:16; LG 20), "in governing their own churches properly as parts of the universal church, they contribute effectively to the welfare of the whole mystical body, which is also a body of churches" (LG 23).
2. It is therefore of interest not only to the Supreme Pontiff but all the Bishops, that each Bishop may have all the legal and pastoral means to fulfil his mission. The III Conference of the Latin American Episcopate reported that the "pastoral planning as a specific, conscious and intentional response to the necessities of evangelization" (cf. DP, 1307). Therefore, there are many dioceses which count on their own pastoral plan as an that charity and unity of the mystical Body, without which there can be no salvation." (LG 26).
3. In the charism of government of the diocesan Pastor exercised by the pastoral plan, all the gifts and charisms must converge in accordance with the ecclesiology of communion open to mission, each in its own way but effectively (cf. NMI 43).
4. The Bishop must count on the comprehension and collaboration of the movements, congregations and religious orders, eliminating parallel pastoral missions and the ones which definitely ignore the pastoral plan. This Synod must present to the Holy Father proposals which are practicable and operational in order to help correct this situation.
[00117-02.03] [in094] [Original text: Spanish]
I wish to underline three aspects of the bishop’s charisma in this brief intervention: the Bishop and the mystery, the Bishop and his ministry, the Bishop and his spiritual charisma.
1. The Bishop and the Mystery
The bishop is a man who has come into contact with the arcane on Mount Oreb, like Moses, and on Mount Tabor, like the apostles Peter, John and James. The mystery is something ineffable, which cannot be narrated, but lived deep within oneself. Who lives the mystery becomes credible. When Moses descended from Mount Horeb, he brought with him, not only the Table of Laws, but also the experience of the encounter with God. The Letter to the Hebrews states that he "held to his purpose like someone who could see the Invisible" (Heb 11:27). The contemplatives pray without being seen, however they cannot hide the experience of their encounter with God.
2. The Bishop and his Ministry
The triple munus (priest, king and prophet), which characterizes the ontological reality of every Christian, was not always lived harmonically by us Bishops. Without personal faults, but because of circumstances. History reminds us that for too much time the bishop was seen as the Pontifex presiding the liturgy with the entire choreography that made him someone more important than the Lord Himself, and as Rex, a man in command who must be blindly obeyed. How difficult (or impossible?) it is to be in communion with the Rex and feel like his collaborators and persons entrusted with the Kingdom of God.
3. The Spiritual Charisma of the Bishop
Apart from the beauty of the rich Magisterium on the functions of the Bishop, we can summarize the essence of episcopal charisma by remembering the words of Jesus: "Pastore dabo vobis" (Jer 3:15). In Jesus’ heart and on His lips, the word ‘pastor’ stands for ‘father’. The paternitas occupied Jesus’ mind, who also considered Himself the Spouse in the logic of the messianic Kingdom. "I shall not leave you orphans" (Jn 14:18). The apostles understood that the ministry of proclamation could only progress in a climate of paternity-filialness. The entire New Testament and Patristic tradition bears witness to this. The pastoral letters show the preoccupation that if the Church is Sponsa-Mater, the Bishop is Sponsus-Pater.
Two more observations may be made. Formation courses to prepare future bishops do not exist. The personal and intellectual qualities are not guarantees of being the right person to take on the guidance of a flock. The episcopate is a grace that must be lived pastorally. It cannot be conferred as a prize or as confirmation or as a political function.
[00118-02.03] [in095] [Original text: Italian]
It is incorrect to include the Patriarchal Synod under the title of Episcopal Conferences. It is a completely distinct organism. The Patriarchal Synod is the supreme instance of the Eastern Church. It can legislate, elect bishops and Patriarchs, cut off those who differ.
In No. 75, a "particular honor" given to Patriarchs is mentioned. I would like to mention that this diminishes the traditional role of the Patriarch, as well as speaking about the honor and privileges of the Patriarchs in ecclesiastical documents.
It is not a question of honor, of privileges, of concessions. The patriarchal institution is a specific entity unique in Eastern ecclesiology.
With all respect due to the Petrine ministry, the Patriarchal ministry is equal to it, "servatis servandis", in Eastern ecclesiology.
Until this is taken into consideration by the Roman ecclesiology, no progress will be made in ecumenical dialogue.
Furthermore, the Patriarchal ministry is not a Roman creation, it is not the fruit of privileges, conceded or granted by Rome.
Such a concept can but ruin any possible understanding with Orthodoxy.
We claim this also for our Patriarchal Melkite Church and for all our Eastern Catholic Churches.
We have waited too long to apply the decrees of Vatican Council II and the Encyclicals and letters by the Popes, and notably by Pope John Paul II.
Because of this the good will of the Church of Rome loses credibility regarding ecumenical dialogue.
We can see the opposite occurring: the CCEO has ratified uses absolutely contrary to Eastern tradition and ecclesiology!
[00119-02.03] [in096] [Original text: French]
The Byzantine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom makes repeated reference to Jesus Christ as the 'Lover of Mankind'. The Bishop, standing in the place of Jesus Christ amidst the clergy and faithful, is called to be the 'lover' of those whom he is called to shepherd. The expression of such love engenders hope. The Eastern tradition gives great importance to the Holy Spirit as the powerful agent of unity. It is a hope-filled responsibility of the bishop to promote ecumenism within the local Church. By valuing and preserving their ancient traditions and by promoting appreciation for the ancient heritage we share with our sister Churches of the East, Eastern. . Catholic Churches give tangible witness to the legitimate diversity that can and should exist within the Christian communion. The writings from the Fathers of the East encourage the active involvement of the clergy and faithful in the process of election of a Bishop. Perception of the needs of the diocese and the type of servant leadership envisioned by the clergy and faithful should be sought. With regard to Emeritus Bishops, St. John Chrysostom exhorts Bishops to regard retirement as earning a crown no less that the consecration to office. Having full opportunity to participate in ecclesial life should ensure that one does not inhibit the actions of the Holy Spirit for renewal in the Church we love and serve.
[00120-02.03] [in097] [Original text: English]
The fourth briefing for the language groups will take place tomorrow, Friday October 5th 2001 at 13:10, at the end of the Eighth General Congregation in the morning (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) to request the access permit (restricted) from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
The fifth pool for the Synod Hall will be formed for the opening prayer of the Tenth General Congregation of Saturday morning, October 6th 2001.
The list for registration to the pool is available to the editors at the Information and Accreditation Office of the Holy See Press Office (at the entrance, on the right).
We would like to recall that the audio-visual operators (cameramen and technicians) and photographers are kindly requested to apply to the Pontifical Council for Social Communications to participate in the information pool for the Synod Hall.
We would also like to remind the participants in the Information Pool that they are kindly requested to be at the Press Area at 8:30 a.m., outside the entrance of the Paul VI Hall, when they will be called by name to enter the Synod Hall, always accompanied respectively by an officer of the Holy See Press Office and from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
Bulletin Synodus Episcoporum - X Ordinary
General Assembly - 2001