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.
15 - 08.10.2001
At 17:00 today Friday October 5th 2001, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the prayer Adsumus, the Ninth General Congregation of the X Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops began, for the continuation of the interventions of 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.
At this General Congregation which ended at 17:00 with the prayer Angelus Domini 232 Fathers were present.
The following Fathers intervened:
Below are the summaries of the interventions:
When Vatican Council II reformulated the relationships between the primacy of the Pope and the collegial power of the Bishops, acknowledgment of the authority in the Church seemed to be taken for granted and generally agreed on. Soon after, however, a sort of "cultural revolution" occurred which challenged authority at all levels of civil as well as ecclesial life. The Council had, however, given a
substantial response in advance, again proposing the Gospel teaching on authority as service.
After the Council, the exercise of authority in the Church often encountered difficulties, and although the most critical phase seems to be over, there is still the problem of how the necessary service of authority can better be understood, accepted and carried out.
In this regard I would like to make two consideration. The first one regards the motivation of ecclesial authority, which in order to be accepted on the interior level must be shown as clearly as possible to be participation in the mission of Christ, therefore to be experienced and carried out with humility, dedication and service.
The second consideration refers to the profound and convinced unity which must exist between the various facets of authority in the Church, in order to be able to give a reliable answer to the questions of our time; thus, the great importance of the spirituality of communion, or also the "mysticism of communion".
[00192-02.02] [in154] [Original text: Italian]
I simply want to emphasize one single aspect of the Bishop's ministry, particularly that of the Diocesan Bishop. My comments are not meant to address either directly or indirectly the theological issues that may be involved. I am speaking from a completely practical point of view. Most basically and most fundamentally, the Church lives on the level of the parish. For the vast majority of our people, the Church is experienced only in their parish - not on the Diocesan level and not on the universal level. It is in their parish that they received the Sacraments: Baptism, Penance, Confirmation, Matrimony and especially Holy Communion during the celebration of the Mass. It is the pastor of the parish who leads, guides and forms them. It is in the parish that they most often hear the Word of God proclaimed.
It is this reality of which the Bishop must be most conscious. The Bishop can write pastoral letters, he can develop various pastoral plans and programs, but if he doesn't have the active support of his parish priests in implementing his letters and programs, they will not succeed as they should, or, at best, only partially. The Bishop, on the other hand, cannot directly minister to every parish in the Diocese. He must be the pastor, not the administrator, but the pastor of the whole diocese. In my judgment from my own years of experience, the Bishop will be most effective in his Diocesan ministry if he gives his primary time and attention to ministering to his priests. The priests need their bishop. They need him as their pastor who knows them, who loves them, who cares for them and who is readily available to them in their needs. Although many priests would not use these words, they want a Bishop who is their Father.
I know very well that Diocesan bishops have a myriad of other responsibilities that take up much of their time and attention. However, I would respectfully suggest and even urge, that a Bishop be ready to forgo other activities, meetings, etc., if necessary, to give sufficient time and energy to his priests.
If a bishop has a happy presbyterate, the Diocese will function well. If he doesn't, it won’t. The question which I think naturally arises at this point, is who ministers to the Bishops. That's another subject which I cannot address in the short time allotted to us.
However, I think the obvious answer is our Holy Father. Obviously he cannot do it alone. But he has given us an outstanding example of ministering to the Bishops. For example, the time he gives to each bishop and each group of bishops during the quinquennial visits. The innumerable private audiences he gives to individual bishops, the special meetings he has with bishops during his visits to their countries. The large number of Synods which have been held and the Holy Father's presence at every general session of the Synods, as we have seen in this Synod. And he gives all this time, notwithstanding the other innumerable, pressing world-wide matters with which he must deal. We should take his example to heart.
[00193-02.04] [IN155] [Original text: English]
After Vatican Council II, all the important structures, services and offices of the Church appear to be founded and drawn in "communio" and, at the same time, called and challenged for the mission in the entire world. This is tied, in a fundamental way, to the sacrifice of Christ for all men. We are used to seeing episcopal service as rooted in an elementary and irreplaceable way in "communio". Today however, the Bishop’s mission towards all men that comes from this "communio" must be perceived in a new and re-evaluated way. This also holds true for the relationship with ecumenism, with the non-Christian religions and with the non-believers. This task also creates many consequences on the way the Bishop intends his service, especially today in this secularized world. He must proclaim the Christian message in a convincing way, with arguments and open to dialogue, and full of zeal, without going on the defensive with regards to the modern challenges. This aspect, which prevails also in the Synod theme (The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World) goes back to Vatican Council II and at the same time also reinforces this important perspective, which has many practical consequences pertaining to the Bishop’s activities, the way of presenting himself and the criteria for the nomination of suitable candidates.
[00194-02.02] [in156] [Original text: German]
The Bishop has the duty to bring God's presence to a particular community. He has to provide that the particular Church, the faithful have a possibility of approaching the table of the Lord, above all on Sundays, in a spirit of joy, so as to give thanks to God whose great mercy regenerates us anew "to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ" (1 Peter 1:3). In other words, the Eucharist is at the center of any particular Church community and indeed of every individual Christian. At the same time, it is noted that in many parts of the Church, like in our own situation in Malawi, because of the shortage of priests, it is becoming more difficult to provide for the celebration of the Eucharist. How can a situation of this type enable the Bishop to exercise his duty by providing for the celebration of the Eucharist in ail communities?
Considering this shortage of priests, the Fathers of the Synod could be challenged with the idea of twining up of dioceses who could support the poorer dioceses with personnel as well as finances. This is in a spirit of brotherhood and the Church as the Family of God where sharing is necessary and important.
While discussing the shortage of priests, the role of the laity cannot be overlooked. The role and Christian responsibility they fulfill in the running of the small Christian communities in AMECEA regions is of tremendous help. There is need to empower them by training them to discharge their duties more effectively and efficiently.
Considering the fact that the Gospel is the principle source of the hope, this Synod is calling the Bishops to see how best to preach the Gospel today in line with the signs of our time and deepen the people's faith. Again, it is important that the approach and the manner in which catechism is taught should be seriously looked into.
[00197-02.03] [IN157] [Original text: English]
Emigration to the West by the faithful of the Eastern Churches in the Middle East is a source of suffering for the families that were torn asunder and for the societies weakened by this emigration, or for the Eastern Churches themselves whose Christian witness in their historical areas of origin has been weakened.
The bishops, pastors of the Eastern Churches in areas of immigration, are concerned about this flow, those accompanying the sons and daughters of the Eastern Churches in their countries of adoption. Not only are they concerned with ensuring that the Eastern immigrants may benefit from the help "of the priests of their nations"; above all they would like the Eastern Churches of the diaspora to continue to "govern themselves according to their particular disciplines", thus preserving their special "ecclesiastical and spiritual patrimony", considered as the "patrimony of the entire Church of Christ".
Even more so, they hope that this phenomenon of emigration may become an occasion given to the entire Church to enrich her special spiritual patrimony. While the immigrants coming from the Eastern Churches arrive in the host country without many means, they bring with them a rich patrimony of spiritual and religious tradition that can enrich the Western Churches. This dramatic situation can thus lead to an exchange between the Eastern and Western Churches of their particular gifts.
In the countries hosting this immigration, the bishop, pastor of the faithful who come from the Eastern Churches, has the task of "fostering the maturity as communion" of that part of the people of God entrusted to a bishop in the immigration host, according to the three dimensions of communion. The first one is that of communion with the Church of origin, its patriarch and synod; the second one is that of the communion, in the context of the episcopal conference, with le Churches established in the host country; and finally, the third one is that of communion with all the Church through the communion with the See of Peter.
This triple communion corresponds to three missionary challenges of the Eastern Churches in the immigration host countries: mission to serve the emigrant faithful who maintain links with their brothers and sisters who are still in their countries of origin, and thus with their Eastern Church of origin; mission in the form of evangelical witness, which is associated with the missionary and evangelizing mission of the local Churches in the areas where the emigrants are hosted; mission of fruitful encounter between the Eastern Churches and the Churches of Latin Rite fostering the exchange of gifts between the Churches.
The current situation therefore requires the creation of new forms of communion between the Eastern and Western Churches. This is why I propose setting up a working group to examine the question of communion between the Churches in an overall approach designed to allow a clarification of the current relationships between the Eastern Churches arising from emigration and those established in their historical territory, and between these Churches and the ones recognized in the countries of emigration. Thus, at the heart of the migratory movements, the bishop can become a sacrament of unity and a sign of hope in the diversity of culture and of ecclesial traditions.
[00198-02.02] [in158] [Original text: French]
The theme of the X General Assembly of Bishops is of the greatest importance on the anthropological and social levels because the joys and hopes, the sadness and anguish of today’s men are also the joys and hopes, the sadness and anguish of the Bishop.
Hoping to see man attain his full maturity, the Bishop in the African environment feels the duty to promote the social pastoral ministry and give a soul to the development of each and every man (cf. Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, 12). In following Christ, full of compassion and solicitude for man, I pity this crowd (cf. Mt 14:14), "give them something to eat yourselves" (Lk 9:13), the Bishop himself becomes in turn a living image of Christ.
From this standpoint, the Bishop first of all watches the exercise of the fundamental principles of the Church’s social doctrine, to know the dignity of the human being, the search for the common good above private interests (cf. Centesimus Annus, 47), the principle of subsidiarity and solidarity. This allows putting into act according to the infused spirit, through God’s Plan for salvation for all men.
One of these actions is participating in God’s work through man’s work which realizes, develops and acquires capabilities about the environment (cf. Laborem Exercens, 9). We must make our communities understand that there is no development possible without their responsible participation to human tasks - If someone does not work, nor will he eat.
In this perspective, the Holy Father, in his post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in Africa, insists that out Churches of Africa have as an objective, to reach as soon as possible the ability of pursuing their needs and to ensure their financial self-sufficiency. Amply echoing this appeal, we the Bishops of Cameroon have encouraged all initiatives already taken here and there in our dioceses to promote the creation of production units and other development projects: the creation of village banana, palm oil, and ground-nut plantations, water projects, opening new medical centers, opening new literacy centers, fighting against injustice with government programs.
To better promote development, we battle in all environments, including our own, against the scourge of corruption. Despite slips and falls, this slow but efficacious process is already bearing encouraging and consoling fruits.
[00199-02.03] [in159] [Original text: French]
"Among the principal duties of bishops the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place (cf. Mt 13:52)" (Lumen Gentium, 25).
The Bishop takes on this fundamental task together with his collaborators, the priests. In some way however, is it possible to make this truth comprehensible to today’s world? The mere presentation of the contents of faith cannot suffice. Man must be lead to a form of religious experience, an experience of what makes up the fundamental and original reality, to something completely different for worldly things, something that breaks away from the boundaries of a world closed upon itself. In our proclamation, this form of pre-evangelization must be made and built upon.
To get away from a purely abstract level, I will try to point out what I have said, about the example of the apostolic visit of John Paul II in the Ukraine in June of this year.
For many persons, educated during the time of Soviet atheism that determined their awareness and their life, the event of John Paul II’s visit was a special surprise. It could not be diminished to an official visit, nor to a normal visit made by a bishop. It went beyond the boundaries also in the level of the tension between the announcement of the papal visit and the position of the Patriarchate of Moscow. It developed on another level. How could this be recognized? In the streets of Kiev, persons without ties to religion came out in masses; for the celebration of the Holy Mass not only Catholics of both rites came, not only the Orthodox, not only believersFirst they asked the organizers of the pilgrimages: may we come with you to the encounter with the Pope? He came to us all. This was a crack in the closure in which they had lived until that moment. And after: they listened to the Pope’s preaching on Christ - only on Christ - on Christ for everyone, beyond any division, on Christ the Hope of man. This is how it was in the encounters with the State authorities, with the representatives of the various religions, with the men of culture, with the youths. They encountered "something new" and "something different".
Concluding. The Bishop, together with his collaborators, must go out and meet the man living in a certain type of closure; they must incite in him those layers of the soul that seem to be asleep. They must make a religious experience possible that will be light in the night of nothingness. And then, they must guide him towards an ever fuller discernment and ever fuller comprehension of the faith. Thus, the encounter with Christ - Savior will constitute the hope of man at the threshold of the Third Millennium. The final word is not the annihilation of the world and of history, but the fullness of life in the Risen One.
The Bishop’s authority is based on the duty received from Jesus Christ in being "heralds of faith... and authentic teachers... endowed with the authority of Christ", thus becoming "alter Christus" LG, 25). This acknowledgment must grow. To be sent, endowed with the authority of Christ constitutes our identity.
[00200-02.02] [in160] [Original text: Italian]
Dialogue is the final and most actual challenge for the ministry of Bishops. Modern societies are evermore diversified from the religious and cultural point of view and from the values inspiring life in common. All are expecting an attitude of dialogue from the Church.
A merely cultural and sociological notion of dialogue is not sufficient for the Church. As a value of democratic co-existence, it frequently presupposes concessions and tolerance in the name of social harmony. For the Church dialogue is, first of all, a believing attitude. This means listening to one another, by beginning by listening to the Word of God, just like Jesus listened to His Father. Prayer, as the listening of the Word of God, is the starting point of all true dialogue.
The subject of dialogue is the Church. She alone, during the course of history, has continuously listened to the Word of the Gospel. To learn to dialogue, we must continuously listen to the Church, the Fathers and the bishops who preceded us, listen to the Magisterium of the Pope and of the college of bishops and go forth, fortified, towards all the challenges of contemporary dialogue, while listening to those who call upon the Church, making our attitude of dialogue a witness of our faith and of our coherence.
[00201-02.03] [in161] [Original text: French]
This Synod provides us the opportunity to deal with topics that are important for the episcopal ministry:
1. Election and formation of the bishops (cf. Instrumentum laboris, n. 77)
Since 1990 The Brazilian Episcopal Conference has conducted annual courses for the newly elected bishops. Up to today, twelve courses have been held, always in collaboration with the Apostolic Nuncio.
During these encounters the subjects studied are the theology and spirituality of the bishop, the organization of the episcopal Curia, some practical legal notions and the relationships with the dicasteries of the Roman Curia.
We agree on the fact that the Holy Father freely appoints the bishops (CIC 377 § 1).
I therefore propose the study, on the world level, of both the choice and the permanent formation of bishops in the spirit of communion between the episcopal ministry and the Petrine ministry.
2. Decentralization of some tasks of the Roman Curia to the Episcopal Conferences, the ecclesiastical provinces and the diocesan bishop.
The Episcopal Conferences, authorized by the Holy See, should be able to exercise a more effective auxiliary and intermediary function, guaranteeing not only the inculturation of the Gospel and pastoral action, but also the subsidiarity that Pius XII, of venerated memory, in the Concistory of 20 February 1946, proclaimed to be a valid principle also for ecclesial life, and which Paul VI, with the approval of the Synod of Bishops of 1967, included among the ten guiding principles of the new Code of Canon Law. This principle should produce a healthy and effective decentralization of the exercise of the salvific power in the Church. The Apostolic Letter Apostolos Suos by John Paul II offers some valuable indications, but we can continue growing.
I believe that in the name of communion and unity, the Church of Rome could establish the criteria to be followed.
[00202-02.03] [in162] [Original text: Spanish]
The Bishop must be, in the first place, promoter of holiness, at the same time trying to bear witness to Christ in his own lifestyle. This is why the pastoral mission has not only support but its very reason for being in the spiritual life.
Today, "globalization" presents some challenges to the pastoral government of Bishops. Among these is impersonalization, which often leads to a possible "crisis of obedience" which is not resolved by a "crisis of authority". The Bishop must therefore exercise the virtue of fortitude, and by dialoguing with and understanding others must put into practice the rules set forth in the Code of Canon Law, which have a well known pastoral dimension. At the same time the "human face" that the Church must present contributes to a special "pastoral awareness" on our part, which requires new and effective responses to overcome the challenges that current situations present to the Church. For example, in Peru there are pastoral Vicariates which take care of Chinese, Japanese and Germans. There are also the university Chaplaincies and Vicariates.
Finally I would like to urge the implementation of an Ecclesiae imago directive, which is a document of essential value that regulates and orients the life and ministry of the Bishops. With this sentiment I would like to recall that the richness of the previous Synods can be especially necessary in the realization of the Directory for the Bishops.
[00203-02.03] [in163] [Original text: Spanish]
By coming into the world, Christ remains always in communion with God the Father and the Holy Spirit. His nourishment is doing God’s Will, and His mission is to save the lost ones: the men and women of all peoples, of all languages, of all tribes and nations. He heals the sick, nourishes the hungry, delivers the possessed, gathers the crowds, denounces evil. He shows the path of true liberty to the children of God: the path of Hope and of Eternal Life. And Christ entrusts the mission of "servants of the Gospel" to the Apostles.
The Bishop must be "the man of God" (1 Tim 6:11) living in Trinitarian communion: the foundation and source of personal sanctification, of his acts. To enlist others to holiness, the Bishop must be a man of prayer, familiar with the Word of God, a man of the Sacraments, a man of pious and ascetic practices, of fasting and devotion, the first saint of his diocese or of his episcopal charge. He is a true prophet, a sower of hope without illusion; an authentic priest, a just and wise king, believable guide for the community ion the eyes of the world.
The Bishop must live communion in the episcopal order, in the Presbyteral order and with the faithful; and first of all the cum Petro et sub Petro communion which presides charity and unity in the universal Church. The Bishop must also cultivate wisdom, justice, temperance and prudence to avoid taking hasty decisions that sow trouble and division.
We must learn how to look fraternally upon the episcopate of other countries and other continents. The creation of foundations or funds for solidarity, encouragement of twinning or association to come to the help of the poorer churches are the concrete expression of episcopal communion. Our thoughts, our words and actions must completely privilege the life and the good reputation of man, as well as the common good of the Church. For communion with others: bishops, priests or the faithful, the Bishop will have special care for the poorest; he will bear witness to the truth with humility and simplicity, in charity and hope, thus manifesting God’s compassion for men. The Word of God that calls, teaches, illuminates, corrects, sanctifies, comforts, appeases and gives Hope to the entire world, without any exclusion, remains the reference point.
Finally, "petitions, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving should be offered for everyone, for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live peaceful and quiet lives with all devotion and propriety" (1 Tim 2:1-2).
[00204-02.03] [in164] [Original text: French]
The presence, the word and the social action of the Church (bishop, priests, consecrated people and the laity), in the effort to support the poor by attacking evil not only in its effects but also in its causes, are sometimes reasons for the persecution by powerful groups, and also for fears and tension in the ecclesial community itself.
In these situations the bishop is not only called upon to be a sign and witness of evangelical hope, but must also generate it in his own diocese, leading the faithful to comply with the criteria, attitudes and works of Christ.
It is an action to be undertaken within the ecclesial community and local society, with the aim of reawakening consciences to true solidarity, justice, peace and brotherhood, in order to restore to each person his lost or denied dignity. It is a delicate and difficult task requiring the mobilization of the diocese along four main pastoral lines:
1. The preferential option for the poor. The evangelization of the poor sums up the mission of Jesus and of the Church; it is the premise for the complete liberation of the poor. The poor as the first beneficiaries of the Gospel are also the first beneficiaries of hope.
2. Knowledge, spreading and the concrete application of the Social Doctrine of the Church. The rich social teaching of the Church, from Leo XIII onwards, and the social teachings of John Paul II, should occupy a special place among the theological disciplines of the seminars and the centers of religious and lay formation in the diocese.
3. An organic project for a social pastoral mission that commits to the various ecclesial vocations according to their specific charisms.
4. Working for the cohesion and social consensus of the human community. The dimension and extension of the social problems indicated also imply that the particular Churches must face them together, with all the different sectors of society. The Bishop should therefore promote ecumenical and interreligious collaboration and cultural dialogue in order to combine efforts and the consensus of the entire human community.
The bishop kindles hope in his people, being for them a prophet of love and servant of the reconciliation of the humanity in Christ.
Part of the bishop’s mission is to promote agents of the dignity of each human being, to encourage and accompany them. Above all with regard to the consecrated men and women, he encourages them so that, faithful to their founding charisms and prophetic vocation, they may serve the cause of Christ in the poor, rooted in the Gospel and freely giving in commitment.
[00205-02.03] [in165] [Original text: Spanish]
Searching for money for basic diocesan structures is part of our ministry. The fact that Ghana is in a better position than some other African countries, does not make it self-sufficient.
Bishops, using the same language should be able to approve translations for liturgical use, according to prescribed norms and procedures without recourse to Rome, unless one of them appeals to Rome for intervention to safeguard the purity of doctrine.
We Bishops must inspire hope in the flock. Certainly, hope .is a difficult virtue to maintain when we discover that the countries which sent missionaries out to evangelize us are no longer drawing inspiration from Christianity, that they are showing a lot of irreverent allergy towards Rome and the Holy Father. We in Africa are shocked and confused when we witness the abandonment of the faith or the defection from the priesthood on the part of missionaries who were our seminary formators and role-models,
The Bishop should be patient and welcoming to people, but the people should gradually learn to appreciate that the Bishop also needs some rest in order to serve them better.
Likewise, while we thank God that our people do not mind spending hours in celebrating the liturgy, we should nevertheless, without becoming slaves to the wrist-watch, educate them through our own example, to be punctual at functions as an act of charity towards others.
No Bishop should think himself less capable of preaching just because he has no degree in exegesis, though he should try to be familiar with the Word of God inthe Scriptures and carefully prepare his homily.
The Bishop should satisfy the people’s immense hunger for God's word by promoting the Biblical Apostolate. The Bishops of Ghana are seeking permission to print the American Bible locally for dissemination.
There should be ongoing formation for Bishops to bring them abreast with the many documents coming from Rome.
[00206-02.04] [in166] [Original text: English]
Temptations or tensions of the Bishop in the world in general
In our world marked by the many wounds of civilization of hate and limited horizons, the Bishop is called upon to say a word that may be light and compass, opening and liberation. Often, the crowds press at his doors and follow his generous hand with their eyes. Often is he not the father and the mother of his people?
Disinterested inventor, efficacious within our world that incenses the creative and the dynamic, does not the Bishop run the risk of appearing to be more than a director, a charismatic administrator, a project manager, an orchestral man, known as the director of a N.G.O.?
If the ecclesial works coming from his initiatives provide bread, a roof, a better lifestyle for needy men and women, the Bishop, lieutenant of Jesus Christ, must bear in mind that man does not live by bread alone (cf. Mt 4:4). He must also equip this man and lead him to the experience with God. In this travel to the sources of salvation, without this profound internal conversion, individuals or the clubs of decision-makers of all nations cannot make growing globalization a new instrument of colonization and organized exploitation of the neediest. Hope will always be dead for the poor, before becoming sour, revolt and unforeseeable power of massive destruction, as we have already been the privileged witnesses, surprised and worried.
Temptations or tensions of the Bishop in our emerging nations.
Between North and South, the gap is growing; conflictual relations persist. Because we are linked, when the North becomes nervous, worried, the South trembles and becomes feverish: everything is blocked at this level. Often, the logic of the Northern people is deceiving. Instead of helping the half dead traveler on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho (cf. Lk 10:29-37), the North refuses and demands that this unhappy person raise himself to climb onto his ride. This is prudishly called "the new conditions of international aid..." On the other hand, if the economy of a Northern nation is threatened, its funds are immediately unblocked.
Africa, "this Continent saturated with bad news" does not interest anyone, except for the riches of the earth that the multinationals raid with the help of unscrupulous nations.
In this context, the Bishop feels the incoherence of these often unjust poverties within his pastoral flesh. He participates in the development of his people with words and with actions.
Here, he awakens the conscience of the great and the small; recalling the needs of equity and solidarity. He participates in the battles to come out of the throes of famine, of the penury of economic, health and educational infra-structures... There, he must recall human rights, the elementary rules of democracy, etc... He commits himself to the battle against the terrible endemic AIDS, armed conflicts, attempt at reconciliation.
Applauded by some who ask him to take on political responsibilities, calumnied and detested by others, the Bishop is constantly divided. But there, he must keep his head above water to breathe and determine the essential part of his mission which is above all of a spiritual order. Unceasingly he contemplates the face of Christ, draws his energies from prayer, helped by three essential forces: daily practice of the Holy Scriptures, devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist, sacrifice, nourishment and friendly presence, a balanced filial worship to the Virgin Mary.
Deeply incarnated with his people, the Bishop, a man of God, gives himself all the chances for being the hope of today’s man.
[00208-02.03] [in168] [Original text: French]
The intervention on behalf of the Conference of Bishops of Togo reflects on three points:
1. The first point concerns the Instrumentum Laboris about the Bishops emeritus and we insist on the attention that should be given to the aged and sick bishops. But we hope that the question of the retiring age of bishops be reviewed, bearing in mind the ability to render service. For it could occur that a bishop may be declining before the age foreseen by law and he might still be in full vigor at that age and beyond.
2. The second point concerns the sects that make up a truly worrisome threat against the serenity and the profession of faith of the faithful of our particular Churches.
The Instrumentum Laboris comes to us underlining the need to form living and authentic Christian communities, full of vitality and enthusiasm, promoters of Hope... The pastoral experience shows that in parishes where well-formed prayer and charismatic Renewal groups, assisted by suitable priests, are at work, they constitute a barrier to the emergence and development of sects, just like solidly formed Christians, well-armed spiritually, and morally convinced and convincing. Also, the urgency for evangelization to make the Gospel reach the villages farthest from the cities and large centers must be insisted upon once again, the need for parishes closer to the people, more familial and convivial for a more coherent itinerary of faith.
To fight against evil and the evil one, we must organize at the diocesan and inter-diocesan level, teams of pious, prudent, cultured and integrated priests to practice exorcism and prayers to obtain healing from God.
3. The third point concerning the ranks of witnesses and the anchor of hope, No. 148, is a wish: to give the possibility to the particular churches to organize ceremonies to recognize the venerability of local witnesses of faith, whose witness of faith and of life incite admiration and are worthy of being proposed as models for the living.
[00209-02.03] [in169] [Original text: French]
The seventh briefing for the Language Groups will take place tomorrow Tuesday October 9th 2001 at 13:10 (in the 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 eighth information pool for the Synod Hall will be formed for the opening prayer of the Sixteenth General Congregation of Thursday morning, October 11th 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.
The next Bulletin No. 16, concerning the works of the Thirteenth General Congregation of the Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for tomorrow morning, Tuesday October 9th 2001, will be available to the accredited journalists at the end of the works of this Congregation.
Bulletin Synodus Episcoporum - X Ordinary
General Assembly - 2001