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"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.
14 - 08.10.2001
At 09:00 a. m. today, Monday October 8th, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the prayer Hora Tertia, the Eleventh General Congregation began for the continuation of the interventions of the Synod 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 RE, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops.
On the opening of this Eleventh General Congregation, the President Delegate on duty pronounced the following words:
Today we begin the second week of our work.
The news which arrived last night regarding the operations in Afghanistan are at the forefront of our prayers for peace and justice. We repeat from our heart: Da pacem Domine.
May God enlighten those who are responsible.
[00222-02.03] [nnnnn] [Original text: Latin]
After the interval, the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, H. Em. Card. Jan Pieter SCHOTTE, C.I.C.M., General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops pronounced the following communication:
H.E. Most Rev. Anthony Theodore Lobo, Bishop of Islamabad-Rawalpindi (Pakistan), has had to leave our Assembly due to the situation of recent events which occurred in his diocesis in order to be close to his faithful.
He takes with him the blessing of the Holy Father for the local Church in Pakistan and for the whole of that region.
Our prayers and fraternal concern also accompany him in pastoral charity and collegial affection.
[00221-02.03] [nnnnn] [Original text: Latin]
This General Congregation ended at 12.25 with the prayer Angelus Domini and 231 Fathers were present.
The following Fathers intervened:
Below are the summaries of the interventions:
I would like to thank the General Secretariate for the Instrumentum laboris with a clear summary of the doctrine and the ministry of the Bishops in the context of historical events, of social situations and of new orientations in the times we live in. However I would like to present that in Chapter V of the quoted Document, the "sense of mission" of the Bishop is further deepened. The "mission" of the Bishop, specifically today, is not one of many duties, but is a priority need for it is the foundation of pastoral action.
There are many documents that speak of the "missionary" need of the diocesan Bishop and of his right-duty to operate in solido with the Roman Pontiff for the Evangelization of the world, in the spirit of Saint Paul who devoted himself to the sollicitudo omnium ecclesarium. In many members of the the Episcopal College, the Bishops cum Pontifice e sub Pontifice exercise "this function individually in the portion of the Lord’s flock which has been entrusted" to them (CD 3). And the Decree Ad Gentes is even more explicit: "All the Bishops, as members of the body of bishops...are consecrated not for one diocese alone, but for the salvation of all the world" (No. 38).
Conscious of the missionary nature of their own pastoral ministry, the Bishops need to act in such a way that the missionary spirit vivifies all the ecclesiastical activity of their Dioceses in an effective missionary way, especially with the invitation in certain missions of their priests, fidei donum duly prepared spiritually and intellectually. The Moto Proprio Ecclesiae Sanctae, further, reaffirms the inter-ecclesial collaboration also from the economic point of view (III, art. 8), to be considered not just as a charitable act, but as a duty to be carried out for the neediest Dioceses.
For a renovation of the missionary life of the Dioceses we have a well-marked way in the Encyclical Evangelii Nuntiandi of Paul VI, and in Redemptoris Missio of John Paul II. The Church is "missionary by nature" (AG 2) and like us Bishops, as successors of the Apostles, we need to commit ourselves, to go through with the opus maximum that is the salvation of souls through the proclamation of the Gospel in the whole world... Therefore we must "launch forth", because like our Holy Father says: "The Mission of Christ the Redeemer, which is entrusted to the Church, is still very far from completion.... this mission is still only beginning" (RM 1). After two thousand years of Christianity, the Catholics, with respect to the world population, are only one sixth. In this regard, however, the situation mentioned by the Pope remains critical and even more sorrowful: "Missionary activity specifically directed "to the nations" (ad gentes) appears to be waning" (RM 2). If the command of Christ "Go therefore and...baptize them..." (Mt 28:19) still has sense, our decisions also must be consequential. The Priests need, therefore, to guide with the courage of wisdom, with the "parresia" of the Word and with the force of example, the flock that is entrusted to them on the new path of the new world in the certainty of faith and the union of charity.
[00136-02.04] [in111] [Original text: Italian]
The bishop finds himself in the centre of a network of relationships in which he must be able to place himself. His wellbeing depends on this. He must first of all place himself in his relationship with God. He has to fight day and night against time and the demands of his agenda to safeguard in his life that essential window open towards God in his prayer.
He is also linked to the universal Church and to the person of Peter. At a time when so many moral and religious certainties are shaken, we need a strong Pope as well as a strong episcopal college. We have nothing to gain to promote one to the detriment of the other.
The bishop is a memeber of the episcopal college, a college cum Petro et sub Petro. This implies the grace and duty of collegiality. The most important instrument of this collegiality is the Synod of bishops. Its functioning is certainly to be improved: everything is to be made more perfect. The concrete ‘iter’ of this reform is no doubt to be entrusted to the Council of the elected Secretariat at the end of the Synod or to the ad hoc group. However, any reforms must let all bishops have the possibility to speak freely and be sheltered from external pressures, to develop all the issues which they deem important for the good of the Church. Even if ordinary synods remain precious instruments of affective collegiality, effective collegiality would be no doubt better served by convening more frequently - with a more restricted number of participants of participants - more targeted synods consecrated to one or more particular themes. These types of special synods have already been envisaged.
As regards relations between Rome and the episcopal conferences, it is is woth without any doubt to practise subsidiarity there. However, it would be important to carry out a serious study on the nature of this subsidiarity and its concrete applications to go outside what is abstract which only nourishes feelings of frustration and criticism in the peripheral areas.
The bishop is responsible to proclaim the truth. He also has to make it pass and communicate it. It would be useful , already from the start, in the drawing up of the texts of the Magisterium, to also practise ars definikendi as well as ars persuadendi et communicandi. In this sense and taking into account almost unavoidable distorsions practised voluntarily or not by the large media, the Roman dicasteries could communicate their texts earlier, especially at the episcopal conferences who live on volcanic soil where media eruptions are frequent and where the anti-authoritarian allergies take from time to time an epidemic trend.
Lastly, the bishop lives amidst many paradoxes. He must be everything at the same time: preacher, sanctifier, pastor. And even more - as an example - to be firm and merciful. Only Christ is capable of bearing all these titles and putting them into practice. It is only because the bishop has the grace to speak and act in persona Christi that he can live in the hope this ‘great gap’ which has been imposed on him by the need to tackle this coincidentia oppositorum which characterises everything.
[00160-02.03] [In134] [Original text: French]
H.E. Most Rev. Julián HERRANZ, Clergy of the Personal Prelature of the Holy Cross and Opus Dei, Titular Archbishop of Vertara, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (Vatican City).
The clearest spiritual "identikit" of the Bishop, successor of the Apostles, was designated from the same Jesus, with two strong elements, one morning on the Mount of Gaillee. Christ—narrated by Saint Mark in his passage on the decision of the Twelve: (3:14)-- "He summoned those he wanted" so that "they were to be His companions" (first element) and to "to be sent out to proclaim the message"(second element). That is, Jesus will call the Apostles before everybody because they will stay with Him and, this way, they grow and form in the divine friendship, they will be asked to preach his Gospel. This signifies that, in the Third Millennium like the first, in whatever type of cultural or social environment, the efficiency of our service to the Gospel will depend primarily, not on the programs and the pastoral projects, not on the human resources at our disposal, not on the reforms of the organisms or the structures of the government, but before all the vigour of our contemplative life, the grade of intimacy of our personal friendship with Jesus. This right answer on our vocation will help us also in the exercising of justice in the pastoral ministry.
There is mention in the Synod to many and opportune references regarding the sensitivity of the Bishops with regard to social justice, the justice that is in civil life. I will refer instead to an aspect of justice of ecclesial society, concretely, the duty of Bishops to guarantee and promote the rights of the lay faithful in life and the mission of the Church. These rights have been expressed in an organic way for the first time in the law of the Church in over 100 canons of the "Code of Canon Law" in 1983 and in the "Code of the Canons of the Oriental Churches" of 1990: prepared in 20 years of work, developed of course in the Roman Curia, but with the continuous and very useful collegial collaborating of the whole Catholic Episcopate.
All these norms promulgate in the application of Vatican Council II tend to favor them becoming growing reality in their daily life—family, professional work, activity in the cultural world, in the political, in mass-media, etc. – the ascetic and apostolic needs are inherent in the universal calling of the sanctity derived from Baptism. In this way the lay faithful participate, in their own secular way, in the mission that Christ entrusted to the Church. The "pastoral justice" demands from us the urgent protection of these rights. There are many, but-- for brevity—we will allude to only three:
"the faithful have the right to receive from holy Priests the help that comes from the spiritual goodness of the Church, overall from the word of God or from the Sacraments" (canon 213). Many faithful, however, explain complaints in the care: they never or almost never succeed in finding confessors, even when there are priests in the parish; revealing that the Sunday eucharistic celebration—the center of the community of the faithful—is not necessarily cared for, or alternatively, is substituted without the true necessity of a simple liturgy of the Word; that—contrary to the canonic norms in the public worship (cf. canon 937)-- the churches are always closed weekdays, and they cannot recieve Communion or remain in prayer in front of the Holy Sacrament, and so on.
"The faithful, since they are called by means of baptism to conduct a life conforming to the evangelical doctrine, have the right to a christian education" (canon 217). And still, what ignorance—for the lack of catechism, of well-prepared homilies, etc. – it is verified amidstthe faithful in matter of faith and of morals, so they are very vulnerable to religious relativism and even the apostatic silence.
"Christ’s faithful have the obligation to provide for the needs of the Church, so that the Church has available to it those things which are necessary for divine worship" (canon 221, para. 1). Yet, they are not a few—we must sincerely recognize—the dioceses and the nations in which the ecclesiastic tribunals are not rightly organized and functioning, because all the necessary has been done in order to have well-prepared judges who are needed, especially for correct and urgent course of the matromonial processes.
[00162-02.03] [in136] [Original text: Italian]
Both Vatican II and the Instrumentum laboris through the tria munera of the bishop and of the priests in the first place puts into the service of the Word. The Latin term of the Synod underway, MINISTER has many meanings. The New Testament speaks of the ministry of the Word using alternatively the meanings: minister but also servant, actually slave.
Each of the definitions reveal, that the same Risen Christ is the true proclaimer of His Gospel. This suggests the very close personal relationship with the Risen Christ and the total donation of all his strengths and talents in the service of the gospel. Vatican II, citing the sentence of St. Augustine: Verbi Dei inanis forinsecus praedicator qui non est intus eius auditor (DV 25). The actuality of these words we remember John Paul II: It is especially necessary that listening to the word of God should become a life-giving encounter (...) which draws from the bibical text the living word which questions, directs, and shapes ours lives (NMI 39). Instrumentum laboris insists, that every bishop is the sign, the servant, and the prophet of hope. Today even the most fervent and live personal testimony is not sufficient. The bishops are the witnesses and the prophets of hope even in the collective dimension, of which one must not limit in the instructions of the Universal Church (Roman Curia, institution of the Synods), but to explain in the close collaboration of the different local churches, and to embrace all the joint collegial of the bishops (i.e. CCEE, CELAM, SCEAM, ComECE, etc.). The different Episcopal Conferences, following the example of the Synod of Bishops, must look to resolve the most important moral and pastoral problems in communion with them. The common testimony of the Churches, exercised in the sprit of collegial unity and ecclesial communion, is a concrete and credible sign of the Gospel of hope. An example of the concrete realization of the Gospel of hope is the common pastoral letter of the Episcopal Conferences of Poland and Germany, published in 1995, on the subject of the 50th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
The principle of subsidiarity, as the social concept may help many on a practical level, but may not define the relations between collegiality and the hierarchical structure of the Church, because both from the divine institutions. Speaking of the Church one should rather use the theological principal of auxilliarity, where every member performs a function directly entrusted from God himself: God has put all the separate parts into the body as he chose (Cf. 1Cor 12:18), to create one body that is the Church. At this point to discuss the necessity of the "sussidiary structures", one finds it is still very premature. Such concept collects a theologic deepening, and the present synod may be able to give a genuine contribution to this theme.
[00166-02.04] [in139] [Original text: Italian]
The third millennium starts accompanied by a faithful episcopal college in the mission transmitted by Jesus to the Twelve, prepared and selected accurately by the Church, united by Peter and, committed to bringing men of today the message of salvation and hope. As in better times in the Church, there are today, Bishops everywhere fully dedicated to evangelization, not few Confessors and Martyrs to the faith; also this hall has the joy to be able to embrace brothers who have brought the chains for Christ.
1. The munus regendi presents today’s culture with some difficulty.
The modern man, again not finished, builds his liberty on the absolute autonomy of his reason, living in the pretense of homo autonomus that only accepts the altering on the basis of consensus, and the social rules for the democratic game. From this source flows forth independence and democracy. There are people who alter this cultural scheme under the words communio-collegialitas, theologically weak. The figure of the bishop, bearer of a message and a transcendent power, only if one may fully understand the light of the Risen Christ. The munus regendi in persona Christi capitis makes the Bishop the first servant of the diocesan family. The power becomes diaconic, the government a service. The bishop is the "sacramental leader" of the local Church, who, united with Peter brings with him the traces of Jesus. It is the paterfamilias (LG 27) that takes complex care of the house, to defend it, to feed it, to purify it. Maybe the aspect that demands the most sacrifice of the Bishop is, in the government, the exercise of potestas iurisdictionis to preserve the evangelic coherence and the order. It is not easy to unite prudence with tempestuousness, meekness with strength, misery with justice, to the defense of the individual good that of the communal good (Cf. John Chrysostom, on the priesthood, 1.6).
The bishop dominated by fear, will not be the man of the gospel, nor the man of hope. Scared in front of public opinion does not preserve the faith with the opportunity for correction. Originally the new bishop remembered the warning of Saint Paul "he must have a firm grasp of the unchanging message of the tradition, so that he can be counted on both for giving encouragement in sound doctrine and for refuting those who argue against it" (Tt 1:9). Saint Jerome adds: "A conduct of which there is nothing to say again, which is mute, if it is be of some usefulness for the example it must give, it is not less damaging in silence. The furious rage of wolves must be silenced by the barking of the dogs and the by the crook of the shepherd" (letter 2,69). The bishop as teacher educates, as a leader corrects, as a liturgical person celebrates the divine cult, as a leader he is firm when facing abuses, as a teacher he preaches morals as a leader he unveils and corrects failures and keeps traditions. The bishop, leader of the diocesan community, does not stop committing himself so that Christ’s thinking may find a place in public life.
Among the respectful propositions, perhaps we could present the Holy Father with one that would allow requiring, in the choice of candidates to the episcopacy, those qualities that ensure the Church, facing secularism, practical apostasy and the prostration of traditions, bishops that will lead her with courage, with the spiritual genetics of Ignatius, Irenaeus, Athanasius, Eusebius of Vercelli, of Boromeo, of Faulhaber, and those who defended and maintained the faith beyond the iron curtain.
2. The bishop father and guide of his priests.
I would like to underline two aspects of this paternity: The care for their well-being and mercy. The priests’ good is the good of the Church. To know about the conditions of the family, the state of bodily and spiritual health, the joys and the suffering, the tiredness, the solitude of the priests is the bishop’s duty.
We must stay on two tracks: Permanent following and permanent formation.
The bishop’s mercy, an echo of God’s mercy, does not mean the destruction of the law to cover errors and sins, rather it is an expression of the paternity that knows how to find the path of love even while punishing like medicine, or preserve the holiness of the Church and the common good of the Christian society.
[00207-02.05] [in167] [Original text: Italian]
We wish to express most Holy Father, our filial gratitude for the pastoral and spiritual programme drawn in the Apostolic letter "Tertio Millenio Ineunte", the pastoral perspectives following the recent Consistory and these days of effective collegiality and of intense missionary communion.
The Instrumentum laboris will be together with the future post-synodal exhortation a precious Guide for the bishops in their ideal of life and their episcopal ministry.
The first concern of the Bishop is to Evangelize, sanctify and guide the people of God entrusted to him; but also the autonomy in the choice of personnel, means of subsistence and work, urgent tasks which do not always leave intact the energies and ferveur for the mission.
The faithful and non-christians often consider the Bishop as a "Head", a "boss" to whom one should constantly refer to. He considers himself a humble servant who listens to the faithful of Christ, a devout pastor and a loving father. He is aware of the burden of his task and he wants to carry it in faith with the indispensible help of his direct collaborators, priests, consecrated persons and lay faithful.
He must often row against the current, and accept being, like his Master and Lord, a "sign of contradiction",. It is at this price that he will be a pertinent and credible servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in an African society which suffers due to underdevelopment, of evil of an ethical-spiritual and political nature.
The word of the Church, of the Pope, of the Bishops and of the episcopal conferences on issues of society is always desired and expected, and welcomed as a word of life, of peace and hope by the faithful and men and women of good will.
The Church in Africa already rejoices for the next publication of a Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church which will make it possible to make known to our societies the Gospel of life, of peace and hope; it hopes that the teaching of the Documents (Apostolic letters,Encyclical letters, etc.) of the Holy See will be encouraged in the seminaries, in homes and in formation centres. It asks for a Directory for the new evangelization which calls for in these new times and a theology and spirituality from the Bishop Father and brother in the Church for the world.
[00167-02.03] [In140] [Original text: French]
Instrumentum laboris states in No.41: "The book of the Gospels, placed over the head of the Bishop, is a sign of a life totally submitted to the Word of God and spent in preaching the Gospel with the utmost patience and teaching".
In a world closed to transcendence and without hope, the bishop is called to be the servant of hope: he must bear witness to it with his life, he must promote it by opportune initiatives. First of all, it is his task to give hope, but also to proclaim in front of everybody "the reasons for hope" (cf. 1P 3:15).
To be like that, he must constantly be nourished with the Word of Truth and totally adhere to it. Only with the light and consolation given him from the Scriptures can the Bishop keep alive his hope (cf. Rm 15:4) and light it up in others.
Today, there are many events which threaten hope and which could lead to scepticism and distrust. However, the latter would be the greatest misfortune. In fact, without hope (theological and eschatological) there is less possibility to project; pastoral commitment becomes flat and apostolic action sterile. Instead, hope is the best antidote to immanentistic culture, to indifference with regard to eschatological expectation, to distrust, to fear and pessimism. Our hope lies on four solid pillars: the certainty of the promises of Christ, the faithfulness of God to his Word, the resurrection of Christ and the certainty that Christ, the Lord of history, is always present in it and is "Pater futuri saeculi" (Is 9:6).
To give hope to the world the bishop must be a faithful "servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ": he must bear witness to it and proclaim it.
With regard to hope, the Word of God is three-fold: it causes it, it nourishes it and purifies it.
Consigned to the Gospel and nourished by the Gospel, the bishop is able to discern what is evil from what is good, without being cheated or deceived. Being firmly attached to hope, the bishop becomes for his people an alert sentinel, a courageous prophet, sure guide, friendly presence and reassuring figure.
[00168-02.03] [ln141] [Original text: Italian]
The Instrumentum laboris, in the treatment of the third chapter of The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel, and in particular the Ministry of the Word (no. 110), fully explains the necessity to favor "the dialogue with the cultural lay institutions". To reach the discovery one puts in relief the determined supply that may give the knowledge and the value of the cultural, artistic, and historic patrimony of every diocese, to list the works of art, archives, libraries. These are not only rich in history, but overall in the witnessing of faith, of hope and charity in the various generations that may stimulate a deepening of the actual religious life.
The Holy Father, in creating the Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church, said to me: "If I, while archbishop of Krakow, was able to do something good for the "people far away", it is because I always communicated with the Cultural Heritage of the Church, who have a language that everyone knows, a language that everyone accepts, and on this language I was able to engage in a dialogue that in other ways would have been impossible."
The Christians, since the times of the catacombs, were resorting to the artistic expressions for three fundamental motivations: for fundamental worship, that is to put to the service of God that which is the most beautiful offered by human creativity; for a function of catechism, which becomes the picture and the sculpture of the Biblia pauperum; for a function of charity, treated overall by the religious families that operate charitably from their central areas.
The ecclesiastical libraries pick instead theologic and non-theologic knowledge. The ecclesiastical archives in many nations consist of the oldest and most important testimonies of life, faith, culture and history. The Pontifical Commission for the Cultural Heritage of the Church sent all the bishops in the world a series of documents looking at the pastoral function of the ecclesiastical libraries, of the ecclesiastical archives, of the ecclesiastical museums, highlighting the necessity and the urgency of cataloguing and making an inventory of them.
In this last decade I was able to establish everywhere a marked accentuation on the historic-artistic heritage to increase history, culture, local faith. Therefore I wholeheartedly wish that the cultural, artistic and historical dimension be kept present in the document that will bring together the work and the suggestions of this Synod, because all the priests may in him and with him find a valid way for the new evangelization. If, like Dostoyvesky, "beauty will save the world", the Church will find in their own artistic-cultural heritage a help to "save the world", for which every diocese and parish will be able to take advantage of this as a way of doctrinal teaching, of evangelization and of dialogue even with the people far away.
[00169-02.04] [in142] [Original text: Italian]
Referring to number 131 of Instrumentum Laboris he pointed out that the substance of the ecumenical journey towards unity consists in purification of structures so that they may correspond to the healthy ecclesiology of Vatican II. Meanwhile, he pointed out that a certain practice of the Catholic Church denies in practice the theoretical principles of various documents. It/He hoped for the re-establihsment wanted by Vatican II of the authorities of the Patriarchs of the Oriental Catholic Churches (O.E. No. 9) and the autonomy of their Churches of which they are "fathers and heads". That the bishops must not consider themselves vicars of the Roman Pontiffs because they bear their own authority (L.G. 27). That collegiality in the government of the Church may be established by proposing a permanent Synod which collaborates in harmony and in the charity of the Holy Spirit with the Successor of Peter, natural head of this suggested permanent Synod. To conclude, he ponted out that in the past 40 years of a more intense ecumenical journey, the Catholic Church has a merit and demerit. Its merit is that its children, "the Catholics with joy recognize the really christian values coming from the common heritage, which are to be found in our separated brothers" (U.R. No. 4). The children of the Catholic Church look upon the orthodox brothers with a fraternal spirit and speak with respect and love for them. Whereas the demerit of the Catholic Church is that of not succeeding in becoming credible in the eyes of our orthodox brothers because its practice is far from the ecclesiological principles proclaimed in the various documents. We finally pass from words to facts.
[00171-02.03] [ln143] [Original text: Italian]
1. Bishop: Teacher of the Faith
The Second Vatican Council affirmed among other things that, "among the principle duties of bishops, the preaching of the gospel occupies an eminent place. For bishops are preachers of the faith who lead new disciples to Christ. They are the authentic teachers, that is teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice" (LG 25). This duty of the Bishop to teach, always in communion with the Roman Pontiff, is well articulated in paragraph 103 of the Instrumentum Laboris. Against this background, I would like to affirm the point on the teaching of the faith and catechesis in paragraph 104 in relation to the attention drawn to ecclesial movements in paragraph 99.
2. Bishop: Attention to New Ecclesial Movements
One pastoral challenges facing the Bishop as teacher of the faith touches on giving attention new ecclesial movements that are well in tune with our Holy Father's appeal for "new evangelization". One is struck by their capacity in making themselves effective means of conversion in Jesus Christ because of their ability to testify to the truth of the Gospel. Paragraph 99 of the Instrumentum Laboris, however, draws our attention to the fact that some ecclesial movements, "remaining on the peripheries of parish and diocesan life, are not beneficial to the growth of the local Church". Moreover there is the risk of undermining the communion of the particular Church. The Catholic faith is still relatively young in many parts of Africa and in such a situation the role of the Bishop as teacher is challenged by the arrival of new ecclesial movements that remain on the periphery of parish and diocesan life. I wish to affirm the request "that attention be given at the synod to discussing the theological and juridical statutes of such movements within the particular Church and to setting down precise norms governing their relations to the Bishop" (99).
3. Bishop: Guardian of the Communion of Faith
The Bishop is a full-time guardian of the truth, assuring and securing the flock in his diocese. That means, never for one moment falling asleep in his duty of watchfulness. I believe that this is part of the "munus" that the Bishop accepts to carry out in the rite of ordination. Here he accepts to preach the gospel faithfully and constantly and to keep pure and without omission the deposit of faith according to the tradition always and everywhere kept in the Church since the Apostles. I believe that it is part of my duty to oversee and to keep all the baptized in my diocese in the communion of the same apostolic faith handed down from the Apostles to the present.
[00172-02.05] [in144] [Original text: English]
In No. 74 of the Instrumentum Laboris, the relationship between Bishops is mentioned, when various "sui iuris" Churches are present in a territory or a personal Prelature or a military chaplain. Their relations with the local Churches must express the unity of the Church, which is the "unity of communion". The personal Prelatures can be placed in this context of ‘communio’ and should not be considered as "alternate" structures of the particular Churches, rather they should be considered at their service, inasmuch as, in achieving the pastoral works that they are in existence for, in themselves they harmonically converge with the ordinary pastoral ministry of the local churches where they are present and therefore are oriented towards the edification of the same and sole Church of Christ. This convergence is a reality intrinsic to the ecclesiological nature of these institutions, also because the faithful of a personal Prelature - like those of the military Chaplain - are at the same time the faithful of the local Church in which they live.
The complexity of the contemporary world generates many phenomena of a transregional sort, which require special pastoral attention. When these phenomena present the adequate characteristics, an Episcopal Conference could propose to the Holy See, and in conforming to the auspices of Vatican Council II, the creation of a personal Prelature on a national level. Having the finality of integrating the pastoral action of the interested dioceses, as pointed out also in the Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America.
[00184-02.04] [in146] [Original text: Italian]
After a theological reflection on the Bishop as the "successor of the Apostles" to grasp the sacramental foundation of Episcopal collegiality and the spirituality of communion, the apostolicity and the "traditio" to be conserved faithfully and courageously, the universal missionarity and the availability towards martyrdom, the intervention pauses on theologal hope as awaited and anticipation of eternal life. Within the context of a culture inebriated by today’s earthly values, the Bishops are called to ask themselves the location of truth/reality occupies in their ministry, with the knowledge of dealing with something that is neither secondary or optional, but essential and irreplaceable, because it touches upon all the constitutive and specific data of Christian faith and experience.
In their teaching ministry, the Bishops are called to urge priests to announcing eternal life, by delicately and courageously using the event of death and the pastoral occasion of Christian funerals.
They are also called in their ministry of sanctification and ensuring the celebration of the Eucharist and the Sacraments, to make the value of expectation and anticipation of eternal life emerge, and in doing this also recuperating the meaning of the sacred and of mystery, when dealing with tiresome, insipid and often flat celebrations on sociological and psychological human factors.
Finally, in their ministry as leaders, the Bishops are called to teach true and mature liberty, which can be found in the responsibility before God and to teach moral conscience as the "voice of God" and thereby as an anticipation of God’s just and merciful final judgment.
However, we must recall that a true Christian experience does not take us away from our responsibilities towards the numerous miseries and injustices of history. Rather, it should give us the light and a new force to absolve these responsibilities, with the certitude that life and not death will prevail. This is the Christian ethos coming from the evangelical Beatitudes.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the Gospel of Hope because now is the time to proclaim and experience eternal life.
[00185-02.04] [in147] [Original text: Italian]
Most present-day Local Churches, in Territories supervised by the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, are the fruits of the heroic stamina, faith, zeal and dedication of various Missionary Institutes.
The Church-founding Missionaries and their companions were men of faith and vision. Their interest and concern to lay the foundation of that future vast local Church, to prepare its infrastructures, the apostolates and the facilities it would need, to look for and educate vocations to the indigenous secular priesthood that would be the mainstay of the local Church, fast coming into existence. To build up the local Church, is what they saw as their one and only mission. These selfless early missionaries had the spirit of John the Baptist who was ready to decrease so that he, who'd be coming after him, might increase.
But then came the second, third and later generations. These began to be concerned, not unnaturally, with their own Institutions' interests. In their decisions they gave priority to their Congregations' own concerns and objectives. They began to claim as their own exclusive apostolates those that had been meant to serve primarily as the arms and instruments for the local Church. Where, earlier, priority-promotion was given towards the diocesan secular clergy, there now surfaced a new pre-occupation with vocations for the Religious Institutes themselves, even appropriating for this purpose the original infrastructures, to the great harm of the developing local Church. They tended to maintain under their own control, vital centres of effective service, influence, income and means of apostolate, which consequently continues to leave the local Church crippled. They kept central places for themselves and left the deep interiors to the Diocese.
We have to beg the present Superiors of the founding Societies to cede to the Local Church what it needs and was originaIly meant for it. But they decide at their own discretion to keep a hold on some of the vital issues in the growth and development of the young Local Church. "Ubi Episcopus, ibi Ecclesia" seems no longer to be true."
It is my eamest plea that the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples make a serious study of what has been, and actually still is, happening in many mission territories regarding Religious Institutes in relation to the local Church. Local Churches remain deprived of some important formation houses and of the media apostolates which the Religious Institutes decided to keep for themselves. An independent investigation would help remedy the situation. Only the Church united in witness and service will be a beacon of hope for the future of evangelization.
[00186-02.04] [in148] [Original text: English]
We in Zambia are grateful for the choice of the theme: "The Bishop Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World". This Synod on the Bishop is at the service of all the other Synods that came before: on Evangelization, Justice and Peace, Priestly Formation and Consecrated Life. This Synod in a special way sheds more light on the African Synod which was a Synod of Hope and looked at the Church as the Family of God.
As servant of the Gospel the Bishop is architect and builder of the Church. In this Family of God, the Bishop is doing mainly a ministry of Love. Our ministry as Bishop is to do good in the Church and in society - as Blessed John XXIII said: "To be good to all people at all times in all circumstances". The Instrumentuin laboris in number 18 says: "In many parts of the world situations of suffering and lack of hope are being created by poverty ... The mass media comunicate the many faces of of desperation". Our ministry must be a service that inspires hope and restores human dignity.
A Nigerian Young Theologian, Orobator S.I., in his book "The Church as a Family -African Ecclesiology in its Social Context" quotes George Ehusani saying: "We need a Church that is committed to the interest of the poor, oppressed and marginalized people, and those who struggle for justice. We need a Church that comes to the aid of those who hunger for bread as well as those who hunger for justice in solidarity with those hungering for bread. We need a Church of service, one which ministers to the profound needs of the people including their spiritual, moral and material needs. We need a Church that is committed in word and deed to the ideals of the Kingdom which Jesus Christ preached and for which the Church itself was established. We need a Church that shines out as the beacon of light in the midst of the darkness of sin, corruption, oppression and despair. We need a Church that is an embodiment of hope for a people living on the verge of despair".
When our Lord Jesus is feeding the hungry, he is not doing it as a social worker, only. He is doing it as a Shepherd and Saviour who came that we may have life and have it abundantly. The Instrumentum laboris in number 24, is announcing Gaudium Magnum to Africa and we rejoice at it. It says: "The Church of the Third Millennium will slowly see a shifting of the centre of the Catholic population towards Africa and Asia. The Church is full of fervour and vitality. It is rich in vocations to priesthood and consecrated life". The Synod on Evangelization in 1974 said: "The Church in Africa is experiencing the fastest numerical growth in the history of the Church". It is full of hope.
But this same Church is still to become "Locus Spiritus Sancti" or a home of the Holy Spirit, where there is mutual love, mutual respect and mutual service. Orobator in his book "The Church as a Family" makes this strong statement: " Africa is the most dehumanized continent in the world". I would add, it is the most humiliated continent in the world. The reasons are both internal and external. It is a land of refugees and displaced people. The Bishop must be a man of compassion. The modus for the munus docendi, munus sanctificandi and munus regendi should be the modus Christi.
How did Christ do it?
1. He prayed. He used to go to the mountain (cf. Lk 6:12).
2. He took the challenge of social action by feeding the hungry. "Date eis vos manducare"(Lk 9:13).
3. He denounced injustice.
The ministry of a Bishop must help to make the world which is becoming dehumanized become Ecclesia, a people in communion and a worshipping people.
[00187-02.04] [in149] [Original text: English]
To be a servant of hope, a bishop must be himself a man of hope. He must find time to contemplate the grounds of hope in his own life, namely the promises of Christ and the presence of the Holy Spirit.
One of the great signs of hope today is the hunger for God and the desire for prayer which so many people experience. To meet that need the Bishop and his chief collaborators, the priests, must reconcile in their own lives being seated at the feet of the Lord, like Mary, and being busy building the Kingdom on earth, like Martha.
Another sign of hope today is the number of people who, in their search for meaning and purpose in life, take up the study of philosophy and of theology. They must be inspired to become dynamic agents of hope in their time, as Jesus was in his.
The willingness of the Church to promote justice and peace is a tremendous sign of hope, especially for the poor and oppressed. The consistent and courageous defence of the dignity of every human person irrespective of health or wealth, race or religion, is an example of how the Bishop offer reasons for hope. When the Bishop clearly sets forth the teaching of the Church in favour of life in opposition to the culture of death, in favour of marriage and of the family, in favour of peace as opposed to violence, he becomes a beacon of hope to those who suffer in the darkness of despair and discouragement.
We must stand under the Cross with those who grieve and try to console the broken-hearted. At an appropriate time the Bishop will encourage them to let go of their grief and try to persuade them to offer forgiveness and reconciliation. At such times, the presence of the Bishop among his people and his availability to his priests is vitally important. It is a rich source of hope as they struggle to restrain the violent, calm passion and restore peace.
The final sign of hope which I want to mention is the invitation of Pope John Paul contained in Novo millenio ineunte to see the light of the Trinity shine on the face of the Brothers and Sisters around us.
It is in that spirit of appreciation and mutual trust that the question of the relationship between the Universal Church and local Church should be discussed. The ministry of the Bishop of Rome is the visible sign and guarantee of unity. This essential good, as Ut unum sint calls it, must always be seen as a great gift by the particular Church. One gift which the Particular Church is uniquely placed to offer in exchange is its knowledge and experience of conditions in the local situation.
[00188-02.004] [in150] [Original text: English]
I present to this Synodal Assembly some proposals so that the Bishop of the third millennium may be a "true and authentic teacher of the faith" (cf. CD 2) and a witness of hope.
1. New forms of organization: We must renew the configuration of the diocesan Curia so that the Bishop may devote himself more to the office of Pastor.
2. Permanent formation of the Bishop: The Bishop must become updated and have a formation capable of answering the signs of the times.
3. A pastoral mission of first proclamation. A special place must be assigned to the first proclamation, so that those who receive Kerigma may become adult Christians, capable of resisting the impact of the postmodern and will thus be transformed into authentic witnesses of the Gospel.
4. More effective use of the means of social communication: The Church must pronounce a suitable and immediate word regarding the areas where demand arises, using television and radio stations, the written press and the Internet, and forming a critical outlook in the faithful.
5. Schools for the formation of the laity: The laity need integral and permanent formation (cf. CFL 57) in order to be able to take on their baptismal vocation and in the prophetic ministry of the Bishop.
6. Local catechism: The new evangelization requires a lucid, serious and orderly effort in order to evangelize culture (cf. Ecclesia in America, 70).
7. Diocesan Press Office (where it does not exist): an organism authorized to providing information on the episcopal Magisterium.
[00189-02.02] [in151] [Original text: Spanish]
Charles Péguy, the poet and thinker, tenderly speaks about the "little girl hope". She holds the floor during this month of October 2001 to welcome the bishops who came from all over the world at John Paul II’s calling. The hour is serious while rumors grow on a conflict everyone fears... But should we lose hope and say good-bye to hope because to this, the master word of the two texts that illuminated our debates (T.M.I. and I.L., which are the framework of our synodal debates)?
The evangelical message should be the bearer of hope and the first apostles did not err when they addressed the emerging communities, as Paul did in his Epistles, to invite them to make Hope the motor of their lives as witnesses in the middle of the difficulties and tribulations of their time. As Paul indicates to Titus his companion, one must unflaggingly work towards the proclamation of the Word "in the hope of the eternal life that was promised so long ago", a phrase that puts the accent on the eschatological dimension of Hope: a dimension which cannot impose itself enough on the spirit of the Gospel workers and which would be dangerous to silence during these times when we are sent "forth", "for new evangelization".
If the Bishop, in no. 33 of the I.L., is invited to be "a vigilant prophet of hope", if he is reminded that "the secret mission lies in the inflexibility of his hope", he must answer the desperation of the number of our contemporaries in the name of Christ. He will do this with the tenderness of a father and the mercy of a witness of Jesus pursuing with care the lost sheep and the prodigal children, without ever renouncing tearing them away from their desperation. He will also do this by helping them to look upon Christ in the glory of His Rising and which wishes to associate the earthly Church to the heavenly one. The time has come to once again take up the reading of the major text of Vatican Council II, Lumen Gentium, to rediscover all of chapter 7 consecrated to "Hope in eternal life promised to us" and chapter 8, which invites us to look at Mary "figure of the Church", exemplary model of all Jesus’ disciples: Mother of Hope.
[00190-02.02] [in152] [Original text: French]
The Church is even missionary communion in her heart. This communion is at the same time a gift of the Lord to welcome and a task to be achieved. The realization of this communion goes through an apprenticeship of fraternal solidarity, where the differences of vocations, charisms and ministries must be adjusted in the formation of ecclesial ties. It is the responsibility of the episcopal ministry to be watchful about this daily edification of the Church, to favor the synergy of the various actors, to truly help marching together on this common path (sun-odos) of faith and mission. We may compare the bishop to a loom that would help weaving the ecclesial material. He would cross the thread of vertical communion (with God) with that of fraternal community. He would bring help to all, his accompaniment, his discernment and he will clarify pastoral decisions with patience, confidence and conviction. He will help all to discover that this synodality can be a source of trust, newly found hope and renewed dynamism for the mission.
[00191-02020] [in153] [Original text: French]
The seventh briefing for the language groups will take place tomorrow, Tuesday October 9th 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) to request the access permit (restricted) from the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.
The seventh pool for the Synod Hall will be formed for the opening prayer of the Thirteenth General Congregation of Tuesday morning, October 9th 2001.
The list for registration to the pool is available to the editors at the Information and Accreditation Office of the Press Office of the Holy See (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.
The next Bulletin No. 15, regarding the works of the Twelfth General Congregation of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of this afternoon will be available to the accredited journalists tomorrow Tuesday 9 October 2001, at the opening of the Holy See Press Office.
Bulletin Synodus Episcoporum - X Ordinary
General Assembly - 2001