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30 September-27 October 2001

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

The Bulletin of the Synod of Bishops is only a working instrument for journalistic use and the translations from the original are not official.

English Edition


20 - 11.10.2001



At 17:00 today, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the Adsumus, the Seventeenth General Congregation took place, for the conclusion 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.

At the opening of the Seventeenth General Congregation, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, H. Em. Card. Jan Pieter SCHOTTE, C.I.C.M. read the following communications:

Tomorrow, Friday October 12th, the Report after the discussion will be given.

Until the interval, we will hear His Eminence the Assistant General Relator read this Report.

After the interval, the Working Groups will return to their meeting places to discuss the Report. This discussion should involve the main topics advanced in the Report itself. In this way, all the Working Groups will deal with the most important themes. Afterwards, other topics can be chosen for discussion by each Working Group.

I have the task of giving you news regarding our Congregation: it will be shorter because, as I announced yesterday, the Rosary will be recited here in the Hall at 18:45.

In addition, this Congregation is the last one for the interventions discussing the Synod Theme. Therefore, those who have not been able to speak can give their text to the Relator General, for the publication of a summary in the newspaper "L’Osservatore Romano" and in the "Holy See Press Office Bulletin".

Finally, I have another communication to give to you. On October 11th 1962, the Supreme Pontiff John XXIII opened the Ecumenical Council Vatican II with the famous homily Gaudet Mater Ecclesia. The liturgical commemoration of that Pontiff, whom John Paul II has proclaimed Blessed this year, has been set for October 11th of each year. Today, therefore, we celebrate this memory for the first time as we meet in this Synod. Let us thank and praise God.

[00302-02.04] [nnnnn] [Original text: Latin]

Then, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops read the following dispatch by the International Fides Service:


We want to "tend" the flock in communion with the Successor of Peter

Wanxian (Fides) – There is no Bishop from mainland China taking part in the Synod meeting in Rome. The only representative of the Church in that part of the world is Bishop Joseph Cheng of Tainan (Taiwan). The Synod organizers explain that while no invitation was sent to the Bishops in mainland China, they did receive a Chinese version of the Instrumentum laboris. Fides asked Bishop Joseph Xu Zhixuan of the diocese of Wanxian (Sichuan, Central China) to make a brief comment on the Episcopal ministry as he sees it.

Mgr. Xu Zhixuan and his predecessor Bishop Mattia Duan Yinming made the headlines three years ago because although invited to the Special Synod for Asia held in Rome, they were unable to attend because Beijing refused to grant permission. On that occasion the Bishops sent a fax message to the Synod expressing deep communion with the Pope and the entire assembly of bishops (see Fides May, 8, 1998).

Wanxian diocese has 13 parish churches. Five of them, including the cathedral, will be submerged when the Three Gorges dam on the River Yang Tze is completed. The US$ 200,000 compensation offered by the Chinese government is insufficient: the diocese will need at least US$ 3.4 million to rebuild the churches. The diocesan personnel comprises 8 priests and 14 nuns who provide pastoral care for more than 50,000 official Catholics. In mainland China there are 115 bishops, official or recognised by the government, and unofficial.

"We know there is a Synod being held in Rome and this fills me with joy. It reminds me of three years ago when the Holy Father invited us to take part in the Synod for Asia. The emotion I felt at the time will remain with me for the rest of my life and it sustains my mission.

Since the death of Bishop Mattia Duan Yinming, [January 10, 2001 editor’s note] I have tried to carry on leading the diocesan mission along the lines traced by Mgr. Duan, who was for us a model and an example.

I strive to carry out my ministry according to the principles of the Church: to tend to the local community in communion with the Successor of Peter. In China, as you know, the situation is unusual: very often we are unable to act as we would wish. So we try at least to do everything possible to guarantee the fundamental elements of diocesan the life: liturgy, catechesis, pastoral activity.

The duty of ‘tending’ the diocesan flock is full of concrete daily duties: supporting diocesan structures; forming priests and religious; finding financial help. We have guest priests and women religious from abroad teaching in our seminary and novitiate houses. We organise regular periods of spiritual exercises (I have just concluded a diocesan retreat). With the limited funds received we have begun rebuilding our parishes. The most urgent problems are these in fact: formation of young priests and religious; solving problems caused by the Three Gorges dam project that has forced more than a million people out of their homes to be submerged by the waters along with several church buildings.

But our most important ministry is ‘to serve the truth’. We must bear witness to the Gospel with courage, valorizing our ecclesial traditions. To serve the truth also means to support justice. For example: I am convinced that we must support the war against terrorism, because it is a question of justice. At the same time we must avoid provoking acts of revenge which would cause innocent victims.

Lastly, we have heard that the Congregation for the Evangelization Peoples has a new Prefect and other officials. I offer my best wishes to the Missionary Congregation. We hope very much for a visit from our Prefect". (Fides 11/10/2001)

[00303-02.02] [nnnnn] [Original text: English]


Following this, the Fathers listed below intervened:

Below are the summaries of the interventions:

H.E. Most Rev. Michel MALO, of the "Prado" Institute, Archbishop of Antsiranana (Madagascar)

Examining the role of every bishop in his diocese, his responsibility undoubtedly takes on different forms in Madagascar, according to whether he is in the middle of the island, where there is the problem of the second evangelization, or in the peripheral areas still in the phase of first evangelization. However, they have one problem in common: the formation of a diocesan clergy and its relationship with a young religious clergy, as well as the formation of those who in the future must accompany the lay and personnel. The bishop, as head, is the center of the communion of the various active forces (laity, religious, priests) in his diocese. We also presume that he has the qualities of Pastor and administrator. For the proper functioning of the diocese, he is also asked to underline the worth of his pastoral councils, as well as presbyterial and episcopal councils.

To all this we should add that we are currently facing a new situation. The reduction in the age of clergy in which the number of senior priests is not sufficient actually requires us to play the role of "father and mother" (ray amandreny), understanding but firm, particularly with regard to those who find difficulty in living their ministry, accompanying them on the path of conversion.

It should also be pointed out that the current situation has produced a general awareness among the urban laity, above all among personnel and those who make decisions with regard to social injustice and poverty. The latter feel the keen desire to reflect as Christians on these situations. However, few young priests are able respond to this pressing need.

We do not hide that there is still a cruel lack of the human resources necessary to properly support our mission. On the other hand, the lack of road infrastructures and telephone lines involve the need for considerable physical effort for our pastoral visits and contribute to make the bishop wear out precociously.

- Will the bishops be able to respond to the challenges of the formation of consciences?

- How can we conceive periods of recycling and rest while allowing the redistribution of resources?

These are some of the questions arising from our periodical meetings and I would like to submit them to this Assembly.

[00272-02.04] [in218] [Original text: French]

H.E. Most Rev. Jean NTAGWARARA, Bishop of Bubanza (Burundi)

1. The Church of Burundi celebrated its centennial in 1998. Therefore it is one of the youngest Churches in the world. The episcopacy of Burundi has become entirely autochthonous since 1973. Today, 65% of the population is Catholic Christian. But his nation knows many serious tensions to killing confrontations. In Number 17 of the Instrumentum Laboris, we find: "In many parts of our world, situations of suffering and a lack of hope are being created by poverty, a lack of freedom, the restricted exercise of human rights, ethnic conflicts and an underdevelopment which increases the poverty of entire groups of people". In this framework where human dignity is sneered at, the Bishop is called to proclaim the Gospel by his life and by his words. In a nation that has been subjected to war and its parade of horrors: refugees living in and outside of the Nation, some for more than thirty years; religious persecution that provoked the massive departure of missionaries to their own or other horizons; widows, war orphans and AIDS, street children with a hope for the future; an ever growing impoverishment, in this country, therefore, the Bishop is called to be the voice of those without a voice. His message must not stop at compromise, but must open man to the future Jesus offers. In effect, the Jesus that he proclaims frees and unites. The Bishop, like the man for all men, is the promoter of justice and peace. He unceasingly calls to dialogue, forgiveness, reconciliation and unity by inviting each one to conversion of the heart. This is an arduous mission.

2. Just like Christ and His following, the Bishop is called to be with his people, to share the joys and the suffering. He knows that the servant is not greater then his Master: "If the world hates you, you must realize that it hated me before it hated you" (Jn 15:18). Mons. Joaquin RUHUNA, Archbishop of Gitega, did he not give his life for having had the courage to speak the truth, founded on the Gospel? He said, and I was a witness: "If the Lord needs a martyr to bring peace to my country, I am ready to give my blood". And the Lord accepted his gift.

The Bishop must be convinced that without Jesus he can do nothing agreeable to the Father (cf. Jn 15:5). And here I recall with gratitude, the words Pope John Paul II said to me in confidence, shortly before my ordination: "There will be the need for a lot of prayer for God to make the good come out of the evil you are subjected to".

3. The Bishop, alone, cannot build a broken unity starting with internal divisions. To achieve this, he leans on the collaboration of priests, religious men and women, and the committed laity, especially the catechists and the members of Catholic movements of action.

4. The pastoral experience of the small Christian communities was confirmed by the Post-Synodal Exhortation "Ecclesia in Africa", which insisted on the rich image of the Church-Family. Therefore, the Bishop may lean on these small Christian communities to restore the broken unity in the Nation. These small Christian communities are also the antidote against the sects that proliferate especially in times of crisis.

In the face of all these worries about unity, for which the Bishop tries to find solutions so that man may correspond to God’s Plan for him, shouldn’t he expect a solidarity from his colleagues on various levels? Is there no communion to be lived with the other Bishops in this dehumanizing situation?

[00273-02.03] [in219] [Original text: French]

H.E. Most Rev. Gregorio ROSA CHÁVEZ, Titular Bishop of Mulli and Auxiliary Bishop of San Salvador (El Salvador)

How should the bishop in the third Millennium be truly the "servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the hope of the world"? The events which unbalance humanity give this question unexpectedly current.

I would like to speak of the Bishop as the prophet of hope. I will do this in two parts. In the first place, I will pick certain elements from the Instrumentum laboris, in order to remember Monsignor Oscar Romero.

1. Jesus Christ, our hope

The Instrumentum laboris, in no. 12, affirms: "The bishop, with the grace of the Holy Spirit that opens and deepens his look at faith, revives the feelings of Christ the Good Shepherd in before anxiety and research in today’s world, proclaiming a word of truth and of life and promoting an action that goes to the heart of humanity. Only this way, united to Christ, faithful to his Gospel, open to reality in this world, loved by God, becomes a prophet of hope." It is about, there is no doubt, the "hope that does not let us down" (cf. Rm 5:5) because it stands on the certainty of the promises of God.

2. Remember the prophets of hope

In the synod hall certain brother bishops were evoked with emotion and gratitude. They were prophets of hope in our time, in Africa and Asia, in Europe and in Latin America. Among these there is Monsignor Oscar Romero.

I will let him speak to you, sharing with you some reflections taken from his homilies:

-"I never considered myself the head of any people, because there is only one head: Jesus Christ. Jesus is the source of hope (homily 28.08.77).

-"The priest must be where there is suffering" (homily 30.10.77).

"The bishop is the most humble servant of the community because Christ said to his apostles, the first bishops: ‘He who desires to be the biggest amongst you will be the servant of all’" (homily 23.04.78).

-"I want to reassure you of this and I ask you to pray that I may be faithful to this promise: I will not abandon my people, rather I will run all the risks required of my ministry with him" (Homily 11.11.79).

Only four months passed and the prophet of hope left this life, at the time of the offertory, in full Eucharist.

[00274-02.04] [in220] [Original text: Spanish]

H.E. Most Rev. Ramon C. ARGÜELLES, Titular Bishop of Ros Cré, Military Ordinary (Philippines)

The phenomenon of human mobility should not be relegated in the peripheries of episcopal ministry . The topic on migrants is seen in the context of dialogue with other religions since most people on the move come from non-Christian background.

But there are millions of Catholic expatriates coming from nations like those of Latin America and the Philippines. Exposed to non-Christian or de-Christianized milieus, many are lost to the Church. Others happily learn to take their faith more seriously and awaken to the call to be bearers of the faith to others.

More than seven million Filipinos are scattered in two hundred nations around the globe. Most of them are Catholics. Back home they took their faith for granted. Driven by economic woes overseas, even where the practice of the faith is punishable by death, they sense the call to. be instruments of evangelization. The Church in the Philippines in 1991 said: "A growing awareness of the missionary potentials of Filipino migrants workers abroad has dawned upon us". Four years earlier, in May 17, 1987, the Holy Father told Filipinos working in Europe: "In Europe you are called to be the new and youthful witness of the very faith which your country received from Europe so many generations ago".

The "new springtime of faith" and "the renewed thrust in evangelization" which the Holy Father often speaks of will be a reality if bishops take a serious look at the evangelical potential of the Catholic faithful on the move. Bishops as representatives of Christ, the Good Shepherd, must help these ordinary but eager disciples become vehicles of evangelization. Three points need to be highlighted in this, regard:

First, as servant-leaders of the Church, bishops should transcend national boundaries, national interests, national prejudices and welcome, protect the rights of and guide all displaced persons.

Second; genuine Episcopal collegiality and co-responsibility will be best displayed when both the bishops of the Church a quo and that of the Church ad quem share the task of welcoming the people on the move into new situations, alleviating their pain of exile and separation from their families, providing Catholic migrants with deeper catechetical and spiritual formation, encouraging and empowering them to live their faith and witness to it in their day to day existence and trials.

Third; the bishops, servants of the Good News of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World, as well as their close collaborators, the priests and religious, should not feel threatened by the enthusiasm, energy and commitment of the laity . They should on the contrary recognize this vast majority of baptized brethren as sharers in the life of Christ's mystical Body and fellow participants in His mission of proclaiming the Love of the Father, liberating people from all kinds of aff1ictions, drawing them into the communion of the divine family and leading all to the fullness of God's life.

[00275-02.03] [in221] [Original text: English]

H.E. Most Rev. Robert Christopher NDLOVU, Bishop of Hwange (Zimbawe)

I should like to make a personal intervention. Having been involved in the formation of Seminarians for ten years, I read with special interest, Article 90 of Instrumentum laboris: "The Seminary, where future priests develop, mature and are formed, is a sign of hope in the particular Church for the future."

I am therefore convinced that a Bishop who loves his local church should take interest in the Seminary programme. His personal knowledge of candidates esessential if he has to avoid regrets soon after laying his hands on somebody.

Some Bishops can be described as being overzealous for souls leading to their concentration on quantity rather than quality. Some have even the tenacity to proceed with an ordination against the advice of the Seminary staff. That has led to disastrous results in some of our local Churches. It is also true that some candidates have made it to ordination because they have impressed their formators and Bishops with their intellectual capacity to the extent that a blind eye has been tumed to other requirements. One bishop once put it thus; "I prefer one holy priest to ten bad ones, even if it means closing down some parishes." From good seminarians comes good priests; and from good priests comes a good Bishop. If a seminarian is motivated by love of money for instance, don't be surprised if he runs the diocese to bankrupcy if he later becomes a bishop. Unfortunately, the grace of ordination and consecration does not seem to do the trick.

In some instances candidates look forward to their priestly ordination, not as a call to service, but to a status. As a result they load it over the faithful when they become parish priests, instead of serving. That is true when they become Bishops. I think when it comes to choice of diocesan Bishop, due attention should be paid to the spirituality of the candidate, his closeness and openness to the people and less on administrative skills.

I should like to conclude by making reference to the role of our Episcopal Conference in socio-political matters of our country. The Conference played a pivotal role in keeping the hope of our people alive during the war of independence in the 1970s. Bishops became truly the voice of the voiceless. Through their Justice and Peace Commision they denounced all the injustices and massacres that were a daily occurence. Not surprising, a number of priests and religious lost their lives in the process, among them a Bishop. Another Bishop, Donald Lamont had to be deported because of being too vocal. Soon after independence the new government hailed the Church for her stance. But within a short time the same government found itself on the receiving end when it started violating the rights of some of its citizens. In one of his famous utterances against the Bishops, the State President described them as; "a bunch of Jeremiahs, prophets of doom". Thanks to this consistency on the part of the Church in denouncing all forms of evil, she has remained a credible voice in our country. Even recently when we had some upheavals, I am sure a good number of you have heard that people eargerly waited for the statement from the bishops. When it finally came it really had a great impact, one can even say, a stabilising effect. Of course, the politicians reacted angrily to the Bishops, yet they could not ignore that consistent voice. They have even tried to divide the Conference along ethnic lines, but that has not succeeded. Thus, we can truly say that we have remained a voice of hope to our people.

[00289-02.03] [in223] [Original text: English]

H.E. Most Rev. Felix Alaba Adeosin JOB, Archbishop of Ibadan (Nigeria)

The world is already acknowledged a global village. The Media of Communications, modern Technology, Medical discoveries and others have made wonderful progress. At the same time however, the global gain of our civilization is minimized by negative dividends. Crime is on the increase everywhere. Anti-life projects consume billions of dollars every year. HIV/AIDS pandemic is steering at the whole world, asking for solutions which still elude us. Corruption pervades society, irreligion reigns despite the many religious sects born daily. Instead of the unity and hope that globalization promises (UNO), racial injustice, economic domination, ecological disorder and political insincerity is largely the order of the day.

In the face of all these, the Church must respond with hope, true vision and comfort in Jesus Christ. Every people and every government must be constantly reminded in this century, that the human person, created in the image and likeness of God, is a subject of inalienable fundamental human rights and that the riches of our earth, must be shared equitably. African Nations do not manufacture the arms and weapons their leaders use for fratricidal wars. The Church, in the name of Christ, the King of peace, should call on all the Governments, peoples and Episcopal Conferences of those Nations who sell the arms and weapons of destruction to desist from living on such blood money.

Migration has become an unprecedented phenomenon of our world. The Bishop as the visible principle and foundation of unity in his particular church and a link between that church and the Universal Church, is expected to assume the pastoral responsibility of migrants in his local church and defend whatever abuses might assail their human dignity. For cultural and or language reasons, the Bishop, in the spirit of communion, should provide Pastoral Personnel from the countries of the migrants as Fidei Donum Priests and if necessary, incardinate them into this diocese.

Voices have been raise, even this Aula, that many areas of the world lack vocations. It seems the real causes are not being identified. How can we have abundant vocation when the clergy and religious do not want to be identified - cuculus non facit monacum fable? Statistics show that the birthrate of our Catholic/Christian countries have gone dangerously below zero whereas the minimum birthrate of a people for the continuation of their race is three and a half per family! The Church must be prophetic on this.

The growth of the Local Churches of Africa, Asia and Latin America did not result from a struggle for social freedom or independence. Rather, it is the growth of the children of God - the manifestation of the Holy Spirit who "breathes where He wills". Therefore these growths and developments should be viewed with love, understanding, encouragement and assistance. Grace, it is said, is built on nature and grace transforms cultures. Let our growth be a sign and promise of hope for the Church.

The Church is missionary by her nature. All Local Churches and all Bishops must be actively involved on mission - sending and receiving. Let the old Church be willing to receive missionaries from the Young Church.

They are fruits of your missionary endeavors. Do not be anxious about our Vocation boom. Rather show us your concern in love and charity. We have many things to learn from you and you can be enriched from us.

Christ has promised that the underworld will never prevail against His Church. We are aware that He raised up people like St. Augustine of Hippo; St. Dominic; St. Francis of Assisi and St. Theresa of Avila to correct and re-direct His Church. It is the same Christ who is Lord of the Young Churches of Africa, Asia and Latin America. Under the banner of the Gospel of Christ, we are already the hope of the world and in faithfulness to Him, we shall be the hope of the centuries to come.

[00301-02.03] [in224] [Original text: English]

H.E. Most Rev. Jean-Claude MAKAYA LOEMBE, Bishop of Pointe-Noire (Republic of the Congo)

Today how can one revive hope of young people so that they can commit themselves in the life and action of the Church (cf No. 96 of Instrumentum laboris).

Taking into account the experience of our Holy Father during the JMJs (World Youth Days), I propose we, brother priests and responsible lay faithful, accompany the youths to the meeting with young people to listen to them, walk with them and propose to them the love of God who was made flesh. Our mission towards the young is to establish the love of God in their hearts. Why the heart? It is there that human will can be identified by love to the will of God. The dynamics of love comes from intimacy. Installing the love of God into the hearts of the young means helping to grow and last in the dynamics of witnessing and prayer (considering prayer as a way of inspiring in human life the love of God). This mission is not a need to reveal in the future but in place of the game of today: in which the present moment being the only one at our disposal and makes up our only richness. It is only the love of God that will permit the young to grasp better the places at stake in dramatic situations that we live in today, without despair. I believe here the experience of the young John in the Gospel that the love of Jesus totally transformed him. It is he himself who says when referring to the scene of the mother of Jesus next to the cross: "seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing next to her..." (Jn 19:26).

I also believe in the young sister of Lazarus and Martha: Mary was marked with the sign of the love of Christ. This love had joined her heart and she remained in prayer in front of Jesus. Nothing and no one was able to take her away from this part of her life, the best part (cf. Lk 10:42).

The love towards God is at the same time the end and the means for perfection. "All is of the love, in love, for love and of love" said Saint Francis of Sales. It is a matter of love as a feeling, but of a love seen as reason and will of action, a love able to eradicate vices and generate virtue.

The youth need spiritual guides in their lives, not of simple tour guides but true guides at their disposal. If also to swim, to go to the mountains, and go around a city they do not know youth need a guide, a major reason why they need to find again Christian values in life. If we shine because of our absence, other guides will take our place.

It is also this other category of youth: the young bishops. They need the attention or the witnessing of love of their elders in the episcopate. Usually they pass long moments of desperation at the beginning of their episcopate. The reasons are numerous. Between the others I may cite the loss of receiving in the diocese (they are looked upon as strangers or as parashooters), they expected others who were already prepared, the lack of apostolic operators, the socio-political situation of the country, the heavy debts that are impossible to reduce ahead of which one finds in the moment they take a service (pensions of seminarians, social security of priests, different statutory contributions, etc.). The aid organisations do not pay debts. Once they have become bishops, they are held, by law, to give their priests an honest wage to permit them to live. Now, in the diocese, there is no unity of production and the parishes do not give anything to the vescovate because they are poor. The time for begging starts, the loss of sleep, of tension and other evils, it is necessary that the Roman Dicasteries and the Apostolic Nuncios inform us of the concrete situations of the diocese, since they are a good source of inspiration.

"Simon, are you asleep? Had you not the strength to stay awake for one hour? Stay awake and pray not be put to the test. The spirit is willing enough but human nature is weak... You can sleep on now and have your rest." (Mk 14:37-38, 41). What happened after you already know: Christ took upon the cross and death which were reserved for man, to give him life. And the bishops are his following. In the forefront there is Simon Peter, this rock against which the forces of hell break upon to whom he asked if he loved before entrusting him with the mission of being the shepherd of his flock.

[00291-02.05] [ln225] [Original text: French]

H.E. Most Rev. Štefan VRABLEC, Titular Bishop of Tasbalta and Auxiliary Bishop of Bratislava-Trnava (Slovakia)

My intervention wishes to highlight the theological virtue of hope which makes us see humanity with the eyes of Christ and makes us live our apostolate according to the intentions of Christ.

St. Paul expresses this conviction when he writes to the Thessalonians: "make sure you do not grieve for them, as others do who have no hope" (1 Thes 4:13). And in the Gospel of John, Jesus says: "And there are other sheep I have that are not of this fold and I must lead these too." (Jn 10:16).

We Bishops should therefore often address the faithful: "Have you placed your hope in Jesus? Do you live your daily life with the desire to occupy the place Jesus has prepared for you? If a Bishop does not encourage these questions and the hope which they call for, he does not work according to the intentions of Christ who said: "And when I am lifted up from the earth, I shall draw all people to myself" (Jn 12:32).

Furthermore, education for this theological hope takes place in the sacred Liturgy. When, in fact, we celebrate the sacred Liturgy with faith, we are united to the heavenly liturgy; together with the angels we sing Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus. This way we proclaim the death of the Lord and proclaim His resurrection, until He comes to give us the place in glory that He has prepared for us. Therefore, the sacred Liturgy is this experienced, celebrated and practised hope.

Nevertheless, the value of the sacred Liturgy is too often neglected by our communities. Secularization of the Liturgy has impoverished and banalized it. We forget that liturgical prayer is not a private prayer, in which we can freely chose various attitudes, but it is a community prayer in which I the Bishop, I the Liturgist, must serve the Community with my clear word and my dignified attitudes. The Bishop must be an example of this.

While I thank you for the patience you have had listening to me, I wish to all of you, brothers in the episcopal service, much joy for having been capable of arousing and corroborating hope in Jesus Christ, the Sole Redeemer of the world, in your brothers and sisters in the world.

[00293-02.03] [in226] [Original text: Italian]

H.E. Most Rev. John Baptist ODAMA, Archbishop of Gulu (Uganda)

Since 1997, Uganda has embarked on a period of rapid economic deve1opment, achieving to an extent broad based macro-economic growth. Despite these somewhat impressive macro - economic statistics, Ugandans are still one of the poorest people in the world, of which Catholics are the majority.

Poverty, looked at in the perspective of the poor, which local people define in terms of aspects that influence their lives. Lack of ambition to venture positively and aggressively to bring about social and economic changes due to misinterpretation of "blessed are. the poor in spirit" - Matthew 5:3.

Quite often people living in poverty sometimes refer to the poverty in the Gospel in cynical terms. But to some poverty in this way would be Satanic (see Matthew, 4) -refusing to do the will of God by quoting his own words.

Current Economic Situation look at the Structural Adjustment that aimed at restructuring the entire Country s' economy, in almost all Highly Indebted Poor Countries especially in Africa.

Available Opportunities and Roles of a Bishop:

As agents of integral Evangelization, we must promote initiatives which contribute to the development and ennoblement of individuals in their spiritual and material existence (Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 1967 No.14, Proverbs 31: 8-9).

The above scripture reminds us that we should use our voice to speak out for those who . are excluded from social, economic and political structures (The Church in Africa, 1995 No.59).

The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper framework, for all the Countries that use it now gives us a unique opportunity to use our voice in this forum. Back home, we have a wide network of Parishes and Sub-parishes, covering remote areas where other organization can reach. And during our pastoral visits, we cannot doubt the good will, trust and confidence the people have in us, especially the poor.

Conclusion: My Dear Brothers, the duty to give every person entrusted under our care the same right to access the indispensable minimum resources to live is a fundamental obligation of our Ministry . Our task now is to reintegrate those living in poverty into our communities. We have to rightly and openly speak to the who1e world that the poor do belong at the center of every human beings concern and at the center of every family.

[00294-02.03] [in227] [Original text: English]

H.E. Most Rev. Estanislao Esteban KARLIC, Archbishop of Paraná, President of the Episcopal Conference (Argentina)

God’s Plan, which began with Creation and will end with the Last Judgement, culminates in the Paschal Christ.

Jesus Christ is the Lord of the cosmos and of history.

The Church lives of the Easter of the Lord. It begins in Baptism and culminates in the Eucharist and is exercised in the self-denial of charity.

Christian vocation is a vocation to martyrdom since it is imitation of Christ and His love till the end.

The bishop, the pastor, must be a paschal servant of his people like Jesus who made Himself a servant and slave by His death and resurrection. Maximilian Kolbe, a holy priest, taught us by his giving himself up to death saving his brother, how we can exert the disconcerting strength of charity, which leads to offering oneself so that others may live.

This is possible with the help of grace, which arrives especially by the Eucharist, source and apex of Easter of the people of God and of the pastors.

With Easter the priest gives up his life and transmits hope.

A Eucharistic community is a community which gives hope.

The missionary mandate is experienced in the intimacy with God.

The Church cannot celebrate the sacrifice of universal redemption, which is the Eucharist, without feeling the need for mission for the whole world.

God cannot be far from us, neither in time nor in space.

The good shepherd discovers the Lord who wishes him to be prepared to give up his life for others, be they brother, father or friend.

[00295-02.04] [ln228] [Original text: Spanish]

H.E. Most Rev. Jean ZERBO, Archbishop of Bamako (Mali)

The Church-Family of God salutes the Holy Father Pope John Paul II and all the persons that participate, in one way or another, in the present Synod.

It participated with prayer and reflections on the Lineamenta for its preparation.

During the first session of the Episcopal Conference at Bamako on September 25th to 28th 2001, the six bishops present discussed the content of the Instrumentum Laboris, titled: The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World.

On this occasion, they recognized:

After the Apostolic Exhortations: Christifideles Laici, Pastores dabo Vobis, Via Consacrata, the present Synod was strongly desired.

With the Exhortation that will come from this, the four components of the Church-Family of God will have specific documents that will define the essentials of their lives and of their mission in the Third Millennium: To be Witness of Jesus Christ, Hope of the World (Acts 1:8, 1 Tim 1:1).

For the Bishops of Mali, the present Synod’s theme constitutes a Good News for the Third Millennium. In fact, in this world hope is misguided because men seem to create alliances against the human.

Because appearance and possession tend to take the place of the way of being, we need a true witness of a person through which the true human person created in the image and in the likeness of God may be recognized. This is Jesus, He is the Hope of the World because, in Him, the communion between heaven and earth, between God and the human race and the communion between human beings is realized in a perfect way.

The mission of the Church, entrusted to the Bishops successors of the Apostles, is to be Jesus present to the world.

This is not an easy task, special grace is necessary, allowing oneself to be overcome, filled by the Holy Spirit, like the Prophets, like Mary, Jesus Himself.

With Mary, the Bishops of Mali asked the question how could this be done around certain primary points of their pastoral ministry.

Among other things, this is concerns the initial and permanent formation of a laity of all ages, men and women, priests and consecrated persons in their mission as witnesses of Jesus, with the weak human, spiritual and material resources.

The search for communion through dialogue within as well as without the Church-Family of God.

The search for coherence in the Church-Family of God between what is taught and celebrated and what is lived (cf. Is 1:11-13, Am 5:21-23).

Instruction as the lever for integral development.

Commitment to justice and peace in a world, where it no longer suffices to live but to exist truly as a child of God.

Restoring human dignity in a world where appearances and possession seem to be more important than the way of being?

The commitment of the citizen without being deemed a partisan in civil society.

Attention placed on the young who come at the last hour of the day without anyone committing them (Mt 20:1).

More constant attention for the weak and the children, in whom Jesus recognizes Himself (Mt 25:31-46).

While awaiting the results of this Synod, the Church of Mali lives:

- in an attitude of preparation for the Pentecost of the Third Millennium with Mary,

- under the guidance of the Spirit,

- trusting in Jesus who promised us His Holy Spirit that we may reveal to the world as HOPE.

[00296-02.03] [in229] [Original text: French]


At 18:45, at the end of the Seventeenth General Congregation, with the Holy Father the Synodal Fathers recited the Rosary for the Month after the terrorist attack of September 11th 2001.

In the Introduction H.E. Most Rev. Nikol Joseph CAUCHI, Bishop of Gozo gave the following Monition:

At the end of this day of prayer,

which brought back to our mind

the memory of the terrible terrorist attacks,

which thirty days ago devastated

some cities in the United States of America,

during the month of worship of the Most Holy Mary,

Queen of the Rosary,

once again we raise our pleas

for the innocent victims

and for the families tried by pain.

To the God of Abraham, of Isaac and of Jacob,

through the intercession of the Holy Mother,

Comforter of the afflicted and Queen of peace,

we insistently ask

that the world be preserved

from the scourge of terrorism and war

and we all commit ourselves

to the search for justice,

to banish violence

and to being operators of peace.

[00299-02.03] [nnnnn] [Original text: Italian]

Then, the Meditation on the Mystery of the Rosary followed.

The Holy Rosary ended with the chant Salve Regina, the prayer Angelus Domini and with the Apostolic Blessing by the Holy Father.

This General Congregation ended at 19:10 and 219 Fathers were present.



Tomorrow morning, Friday October 12th 2001, the Eighteenth General Congregation will take place for the presentation of the Report after the discussion, the Report by the Assistant General Relator presented a synthesis of the Synodal Assembly’s theme, after the personal communications by the Synodal Fathers and the Auditions by other participants, with reference to the debates in the Hall.

After the morning pause and in the afternoon, respectively the Third and the Fourth Sessions of the Working Groups will take place, for the continuation of the discussion on the Synodal theme.


The Second Press Conference on the works of the X Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, after the Report after the discussion, will take place tomorrow, Friday October 12th 2001 at 12:45, in the John Paul II Hall of the Holy See Press Office.

The following will intervene:

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

  • H. Em. Card. Bernard AGRÉ, Archbishop of Abidjan (Ivory Coast), President Delegate
  • H. Em. Card. Ivan DIAS, Archbishop of Bombay (India), President Delegate
  • H.E. Most Rev. John Patrick FOLEY, Titular Archbishop of Neapolis in Proconsulari, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, President of the Commission for Information
  • H.E. Most Rev. Telesphore Placidus TOPPO, Archbishop of Ranchi (India), Vice President of the Commission for Information

[00267-02.02] [nnnnn] [Original text: plurilingual]


The tenth briefing for the Language Groups will take place Tuesday afternoon October 16th 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 tenth information pool for the Synod Hall will be formed for the opening prayer of the Nineteenth General Congregation of Tuesday morning, October 16th 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. 21 on the works of the Eighteenth General Congregation of the X Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops tomorrow morning, Friday October 12th 2001, will be available to the accredited journalists at the same time as the Second Press Conference on the Synodal works.


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