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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


24 - 16.10.2001



At 17:00 today, Tuesday October 16th 2001, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the prayer Adsumus, the Twentieth General Congregation of the X Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops began, for the conclusion of reading the Reports of the Working Groups, in the Hall. The President Delegate on duty was H. Em. Card. Bernard AGRE, Archbishop of Abidjan.

At the beginning of the Congregation’s works, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops H. Em. Card. Jan Pieter SCHOTTE, made the communication reported below.

This General Congregation ended at 19:00 with the prayer Angelus Domini and 232 Fathers were present.


Now that the reports by the Working Groups have been presented in the Hall, we should dedicate ourselves to looking at the next phase of our work.

At letter c) of Article sixty-seven of the Vademecum (67c) the election of the members of the Council of the General Secretariat is mentioned. Please read this article with me once. This procedural regulation comes in part from the Code of Canon Law and, in part, from the Code of Canon Law of the Eastern Churches, and finally in part from the "Ordo Synodi", as underlined in note no. 35 of the same Vademecum.

The rules are the following:

1. Number: fifteen, of which twelve (12) are elected and three (3) are nominated by the Holy Father (to reach an equilibrium: for example Fathers of the Eastern Churches, of the Roman Curia, of a region not represented).

2. Those with the right for passive election: the Fathers of the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

3. Those with the right for active election: all the Synodal Fathers elect through a direct vote the twelve elected members.

4. To reach an equanimous result in terms of representation of members from each region, it is required that the vote of each elector refer to three Fathers for each continent: Africa, America, Asia (Oceania included), Europe, as read in the list prepared.

5. The balloting by the regional assembly is to be excluded (for example, if the Fathers of Africa elect three African members), because the Synod is not a conference of conferences, rather it is made up of Bishops who have the same dignity and authority.

6. If two Fathers from the same Episcopal Conference receive absolute or relative majority, only one is elected, the one receiving more votes, or, in case of a draw, the eldest.

7. To avoid the manipulation before the balloting by the so-called "pressure groups" or conventicles, as taught by the history of the Synod, it has been deemed opportune for the Presidents Delegates to proceed experimentally in a sort of poll regarding the preferences of candidates from each continent. This previous poll is not binding for the Fathers in the following ballots, which should take place in full liberty of each.

The poll will be undertaken in the following way: the Fathers of the same continent will indicate ten (10) names from that same continent, drawn from a list of Fathers. With all the names indicated, before the first ballot, the names of the ten (10) Fathers mentioned the most will be announced. Then, the balloting will continue according to the existing regulation.

In this way one hopes that the election of the members of the Council may correspond more and in a better way to the prerogatives of liberty, efficiency and Catholicity in the representation of the Particular

Churches throughout the continents. Therefore, please look at the paper that has already been distributed, with this criteria: the members of the single continents have received a page with the names of members from their continent that can be elected to the Council. Each member should indicate ten names by putting a mark next to the designated name.

With this prior selection of names, we will reach a list of members that have been designated more times, thus, in the final election, all the Synodal Fathers will receive some help regarding the balloting, always with the maximum respect for each voter in the election for the members of the Council.

8. The Fathers whose names will come from this poll and in the balloting, but not the final one, are requested to communicate if the duties of their ministry will allow them to be present for the reunions of the Council, which will be held at least twice a year. This is required because we do not wish to have what happened in the past years to occur, that is, because of the many duties tied to their dioceses, to the Roman Curia or to travels throughout the world, certain Bishops repeatedly neglected the Council, to the point where some never or almost never participated in the Council meetings.

[00324-02.03] [nnnnn] [Original text: Latin]


Then, according to the order of presentation of the request to intervene, the following Reports by the Working Groups, prepared by the Rapporteurs of the Working Groups, were presented:

The summaries of the Reports by the Working Groups presented during the Nineteenth General Congregation are published below:

REPORT BY THE GALLICUS A WORKING GROUP: H.E. Most Rev. Jean-Claude MAKAYA LOEMBE, Bishop of Pointe-Noire (Republic of the Congo)

General Remarks: The synthesized text insists on communion since the Synod theme asks us to reflect upon on the Bishop as Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World; is there another way to approach this question, structuring it around the bishop’s guarantee of communion? If this is the case, we do not wish the missionary dimension and the service of hope stated in the Instrumentum laboris to be suffocated.

The Bishop, Teacher of the faith. Even if the Bishop must intervene in ethical questions to announce a certain number of moral precepts, the living center of his proclamation must be the Word of God. He must present the Son of God incarnated in the history of the world (above all in the countries where Islam is present) and the dramatic and liberating aspect of the faith in Jesus appear, in focusing on the dead and resurrected Christ.

The Bishop, Teacher of Spiritual Life. The Word of God, the experience of Mary, the witness of certain priests and lay faithful, the spiritual currents recognized by the Church... there are many sources to feed the spiritual life of the Bishop who is called to live in accordance with the logic of his teacher. He can but communicate what he experiences.

The Relationships with Priests. For his priests, the Bishop is a brother and a father but also a shepherd and a head. As a brother and father, he is called upon to know the real situation of the life of his priests in being attentive to what they experience, welcoming and visiting them regularly, accompanying them spiritually in the momentum of dialogue...

Pastoral Ministry of Vocations. The Bishop must ensure a good youth pastoral ministry (training for vocations) and appoint a team of priests and lay people to accompany their vocations.

Collegiality. This collegiality within the hierarchical communion must not only be affective as is underlined in the texts but also effective.

The procedure used to elect a Bishop may be a good time to live effectively in the collegial way. One will privilege above all the position of the Episcopal Conference or that of the ecclesiastical province.

The Ecclesiastical provinces. In order for their creation not be a simple formality, the geographic aspect must respond to the new aspects regarding the Diocesan Churches: for example, creating a single pastoral plan for the province... this is an institution that favors collegiality.

Relations with the parishes. Without taking the place of the parish priest, the Bishop has the right to make pastoral parish visits to verify, encourage and stimulate the mission of evangelizing in a dynamic process of co-responsibility.

Poverty. We observe in the world socio-economic situations of poverty and misery that call for the conversion of the Church, and particularly the Bishops with their collaborators, to practice evangelical poverty. The social dimension of the faith is part of the proclamation of the Gospel. Christ calls us to fight against poverty and misery, with the heart of a poor person.

Inculturation. In a multicultural society marked by development, mobility, and globalization, how can we maintain our cultural and Christian identity? Also, the reflection of the Pope, which requires that our faith becomes our culture, maintains its contemporaneity. All human life is an occasion where various cultures engage in dialogue.

[00319-02.04] [cm008] [Original text: French]

REPORT BY THE HISPANICUS C WORKING GROUP: H.E. Most Rev. Carlos AGUIAR RETES, Archbishop of Texcoco (Mexico)

As servant of the Gospel, the Bishop must give witness to Christ dead and resurrected; He died for our sins and arose for the hope of our salvation. This is the core of the Good News proclaimed by the apostles, which must be proclaimed today by their successors the Bishops with convincing and attractive language.

In his prophetic function, the Bishop must take into account the personal following by the believer to the Person of Christ who must incite faith and the acceptance of its contents. In this sense, he must take into account the particular culture of his flock, to proclaim the Gospel in current and accessible terms. Similarly, we must proclaim a God who is not static, but who has promised salvation: our hope is rooted in that promise.

In today’s civilization, the prevailing culture privileges independence, relativism, the immanentist views and self-sufficiency. Faced with this situation, the Bishop must propose the Christian kerygma with all the weight of revealed truth of which he is the authentic Teacher by the authority received from Christ, in his Diocese, in communion with Peter.

Some elements of the common Christian spirituality must be underlined in consideration of episcopal spirituality: discipleship in Christ, and placing the center of the spirituality in the Word of God: the Bishop listens to it in Scripture, integrates its requirements in life and proclaims it to men.

Nevertheless, the specifically episcopal aspect of spirituality is determined on the basis of the sacramental orders received, as full participation in the priesthood of Christ, which places the Bishop with Christ as Head, Pastor and Spouse of the Church. The point of departure is the condition of leadership in the Church, received from the sacraments, exercised in the apostolic succession and placed at the service of communion in the missionary path.

The effusion of the Holy Spirit received in the sacraments continues throughout his ministry. The lectio divina exercised from the episcopal pulpit is also a source of life in the Spirit.

Service to the poor and ,in general, pastoral charity are intrinsic elements of episcopal spirituality.

The Bishop must relate with the priests as father, brother, and friend. A fatherly attitude is the best manner of being a Bishop. The fundamental relationship is sacramental.

The Bishop must choose good formation personnel for the Seminary. He must give priority to permanent formation of the clergy, and priority to the personal aspect: health, old age, and being in situations of special difficulty.

The Bishop must promote a priesthood closely united with the Bishop for the realization of the diocesan pastoral plan.

God calls when and where He wishes. Prayer for vocation is of fundamental importance. The Church’s mission is to prepare the ground for the flourishing of vocations, favoring the encounter with the living Jesus Christ.

The promotion of vocations is closely related with certain contextual aspects which cannot be neglected: the general decrease in the number of children per family, the crisis of the family as an institution; the secularization of the major cities, moral relativism, the current difficulties of youth in making life-long commitments.

The Bishop must foster in the priests formation for spiritual accompaniment and education in discipleship. They should also develop family environments and small communities as the cradle of vocations, so that these communities may bear witness to the quality of the candidates.

Affective collegiality, infused with love for the Church and the other brothers in the episcopacy, is a condition and source of effective collegiality.

Communion depends on mission, in the sense that the various forms of collegial government are at the service of mission.

The continental Synods have been positive experience which should be repeated.

Intercontinental collaboration should be fostered between the Episcopal Conferences. The current situation in Africa urgently requires this collaboration, and the same applies to the current world distribution of the clergy.

On the regional level, meetings between the various Episcopal Conferences to deal with common themes gives good results.

The proper value must be given to the Metropolitan as a promoter of communion.

The Provinces must be set up in relation to the sociological and pastoral situation.

The Parish as an evangelizing center continues to be valid and necessary. The parish is the place for the presence of the Bishop through the parish priest.

The Parish must be a place for the encounter with the living Christ, witness of the Mother Church who seeks and cares for her children. The parish must be missionary and evangelizing. Promoter of small communities.

Every Parish must promote Catechesis, the Sacraments and Charity towards the poor.

The Bishop is responsible for ensuring that the planned bodies exist: pastoral parish councils and councils for economic affairs.

In the face of the plurality of charisms and spirituality in the Church, the Bishop must promote his diocesan priests in the spirituality of communion.

The curia must be the expression of the pastoral charity of the Bishop.

Poverty experienced in the administration of ecclesiastical property is shown in the consideration of the social (and not personal) character of these goods.

Celibacy and obedience are expressions of poverty.

We point out some criteria and orientation:

1. Sharing goods is a way of bearing witness to poverty.

2. Social assistance is still necessary, and cannot be replaced just be promotion.

3. We should affirm the effectiveness of working for social justice on the basis of the social doctrine of the Church.

4. Recognize the new forms of poverty in its new faces: marginalized women, people without identification documents and migrants, autochtonous peoples, prisoners, the excluded. The new image of charity must be launched for them.

5. The question of foreign debt is a factor and cause of poverty; efforts must continue for debt relief.

The Bishop must have the heart of a Shepherd and be servant of the Truth.

Concerned and attentive regarding the phenomenon of migration in order to dedicate a space and pastoral care to it.

The Church has its own process of globalization and must therefore face this new era with creativity and enthusiasm.

[00320-02.04] [cm009] [Original text: Spanish]

REPORT BY THE ITALICUS B WORKING GROUP: H.E. Most Rev. Cosmo Francesco RUPPI, Archbishop of Lecce (Italy)

The Italian Working Group B, lead by Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi, Archbishop of Genoa, delved into the problems of the questionnaire and, echoing the ample discussion in the Hall, went into certain themes in particular, among which: collegiality, ecumenism, dialogue with the non-Christians and non-believers.

It was said that the Bishop must be a "doctor veritatis", and for this reason must proclaim entirely the doctrine of Christ and of the Church, aware that Jesus, sole Redeemer and Lord, leads us to the full knowledge of God and to the life of grace.

As pertains to the Bishop’s sanctity and spirituality, the Fathers insisted on the need for him to always continue on the path of holiness and that he must become for all, first of all for the priests, an authentic teacher of prayer and spiritual guide. For this reason, his humility and poverty, his faith, his hope and his charity must be mirrored, offering as a model to the flock his own life and his own apostolic service.

The relationship between the Bishop and the priests, linked to him by the bond of holy ordination, is of great relevance. With this perspective in mind, the Bishop mist consider the priests as a "gift of the Lord", he must love them, follow them, encourage and sustain them in their difficulties and, spurring them on to the sequela of Christ, and live in communion with each of them.

The Bishop’s Commitment to the pastoral vocational ministry, however, must be constant, remembering that, without a solid family and youth pastoral ministry, stable and durable results will not be possible. His commitment to the formation of future priests must also be assiduous and, in particular, for the seminarian, to whom he must ensure qualified and updated educators.

The Bishop’s attention for the parish and for each parochial community must not be diminished, recalling their pastoral actuality and centrality, and calling them to renewal especially for new evangelization. Even the Diocesan Curia, wisely lead by the Bishop and by his direct collaborators, may become a tool of renewal, coordination and pastoral communion.

But the Bishop’s primary attention must be placed today on the poor, all of the poor: those without money, but also those poor in faith, hope and values; bringing to all the Hope of Christ and proclaiming the Good News of salvation. A lifestyle which opens the hearts of the many types of poverty must constitute the model for life of each of the Church’s Shepherds.

The Italian Group’s attention was also largely focused on the theme of apostolic collegiality and the unity of the Church: the unity of the Church, whose supreme custodian is the Pope, is in the hearts of all the Bishops. Therefore, gratitude to the Holy Father is unanimous for his daily, heroic and fascinating service for the unity and for the charity of all Churches.

Episcopal collegiality, cum Petro et sub Petro, is expressed in the love of each Bishop for the Universal Church and for each Particular Church, and is becomes missionary solicitude towards the poorer and more needy Churches.

Many problems open up before the eyes of the Bishop; numerous sufferings and instances, but strong in him is the Hope in Christ and in the Lord who comes. Regarding this Hope, the present Synod has also been a great gift, which reinforced communion with the Roman Pontiff and allowed us to experience a solid and generous brotherhood among the Successors of the Apostles: expectancy for the Hope of the world, troubled by the horrors of war and poverty, but always open to the breath of the Spirit.

[00321-02.04] [cm010] [Original text: Italian]

REPORT BY THE ANGLICUS C WORKING GROUP: H.E. Most Rev. John Olorunfemi ONAIYEKAN, Archbishop of Abuja, President of the Episcopal Conference (Nigeria)

The main points of our report are as follows:

1. Among the truths of the faith that need special attention of the bishop, as he exercises his teaching office, we identified the doctrine about Jesus as the only saviour of the world, the Church as a necessary part of God's plan of salvation, and ecumenism properly understood. In the area of Christian morality, we need to stress the social doctrines of the Church, the teachings on marriage and family and the ethics of responsible sexual behaviour.

2. The spiritual life of the bishop must be centred around his ministry, especially in the liturgy, in prayer and in pastoral charity by which he encounters God in the people he is serving.

3. In his relationship with the presbyterium, the family of priests, he should be available to them as father, brother and friend. The priests' council meetings and other priestly convocations build up a relationship, which is deepened in personal contacts at various opportunities. The bishop’s ministry will be greatly enhanced if he designs an effective system for delegation of duties. We can mention here the roles of episcopal vicars, and especially of auxiliary bishops with real authority to collaborate with the diocesan bishop.

4. The promotion of vocations to the priesthood and religious life should be a major concern of the bishop, in the light of the general crisis in this area. We have to clarify and affirm the identity of the priest, pray eamestly for vocations, and put in place a definite pastoral programme of vocation promotion. In some parts of the world, there is a vocation boom, through the grace of God and the faith and prayers of the Christian community . Such success stories should be celebrated and supported. Seminarians need close attention. There is hope for a better future.

5. Episcopal collegiality, with and under the Pope, affective and effective, is an important mark of the church of our days. The synod of bishops, which is becoming the most important instrument of this collegiality , should be a subject of further reflection and development to improve its efficiency. The Roman Curia will serve collegiality better if decentralised. The ongoing reflection on the nature of national conferences of bishops should continue in the line of greater autonomy and freedom of action on the pastoral level. The common voice of bishops in conference can exert great positive influence in addressing civil authorities, both national and international, for the good of the society.

6. The bishop is the pastor of the entire diocese, and so his ministry must reach out to the parishes where the faithful live out most of their lives as Christians. The parish priest is a key link between the parish and the bishop. He should therefore be part of the formulation of the pastoral programmes he is expected to implement. The pastoral visit is the best opportunity for the bishop to interact with and minister to the people in the parish.

7. The bishop should be a clear witness to the virtue of poverty, in simplicity of life-style, and above all in his concern for and preferential attention to the needs of the poor within his diocese. This concern should go beyond the diocese to the wide world out there, caring for the needs of the poor victims of present unjust economic world order.

8. Inculturation, understood as the effort to bridge the gap between faith and culture, is a challenge everywhere. Its thrust and concrete content will depend on the prevailing culture. But it must always safeguard the integrity of the Catholic faith and maintain the gift of unity and communion in the Church of God.

9. In a world full of wars and confusion, fears and anxieties, the bishop is challenged in this new millennium to be in deed and in fact a credible servant of the Gospel of Christ for the hope of our world.

[00322-02.04] [cm011] [Original text: English]

REPORT BY THE HISPANICUS A WORKING GROUP: H.E. Most Rev. Héctor Miguel CABREJOS VIDARTE, O.F.M., Archbishop of Trujillo, Vice-President of the Episcopal Conference(Peru)

1. The Bishop, Teacher of the Faith

The fundamental point on which the Bishop should focus in the exercise of his ministry is the Person of Jesus, His obedience to the Father and his salvific centrality. He is the one who awakens to life and from His sequela comes the Christian moral. The Bishop should proclaim Christ, His Cross and His Resurrection, as the first announcement, facing a secularized and hedonistic world.

Permanent formation of the Bishop must be made, spiritual, theological , pastoral and in other fields of knowledge, to have greater progress in the sciences that offer new perspectives, which in turn lead to doubts in Christian moral.

Strengthen Episcopal Conferences, in communion with the Pope and the other Bishops, from where they can offer many services.

Today, we are losing sight of the strong feeling of human dignity and from there the conscience of the Mystery, not only of Christ, but also of the creature of God.

2. The Bishop, Teacher of Spiritual Life

The Bishop cannot be a Teacher of spirituality if first he is not a disciple of Jesus. From here emerges the need to stay with Jesus, of being a man of prayer and of complying with the mission. Contemplation and mission are two key concepts on the path of the Bishop’s sanctification. The Bishop’s spirituality is manifested by the vivid image of the Good Shepherd and that of the Good Samaritan. The Bishop must be with his people, especially the suffering. Certain characteristics of the Bishop’s holiness are being and living for others, charity and service, humility, kindness, so that the Eucharistic or Marian devotion profile leaves no doubts.

We should highlight in the Bishop the image of the Father. The Bishop as father reflects the paternal face of God, being Father, gives life with the sacraments, educates people, forgives and is forgiven in confession, transmits goodness in dealing with others. Sanctified and sanctifying.

Affective collegiality between the bishops and the Successor of Peter

Regarding Collegiality some Fathers requested a further study to better indicate when collegiality is effective and broad field of affective collegiality. In the case of the Episcopal Conferences, Regional Conferences, Continental Councils and Symposiums of Conferences it is a matter of affective collegiality according to "Apostolos Suos", although we also understand that it is not just of matter of good relationships but rather of something deeper: responsibility in our ministry. Vatican II well summarized the Theology of the Church, but within her, the Theology of the Ministry of Ordination has not been completely developed and should be delved into.

Recognizing that the principle of subsidiarity deriving from sociology has been fruitfully developed in the Social Doctrine of the Church and has regulated much of the New Code of Canon Law, and before the difficulty of applying it in Ecclesiology, there should be a study of the pastoral consequences of the communion existing between the Primacy of Peter and the Bishops.

The Bishop witness of true poverty

With the Holy Father John Paul II en Novo Millenio Ineunte we can ask: How can it be that even today there are still people dying of hunger? Condemned to illiteracy? Lacking the most basic medical care? Without a roof over their heads? We thus have to work in such a way that the poor in each Christian community feel at home (NMI 50).

On the other hand, the foreign debt of the third world countries aggravates poverty and increases misery, and this situation requires the cooperation of the Bishops of the creditor countries to work for debt relief or reduction.

The Bishop is called upon to be ever closer to and defender of the poor. The style of the Bishop must be simple and detached from material things, human in his behavior, since he must be there for everyone and deal with everyone. The Bishop has of free from all political party links and feel free before the authorities. He must intervene to foster social policy and justice, inciting charity, especially for the most needy and excluded.

The Bishop must defend the dignity of every person, especially the excluded, and try to ensure that the concept of excluded persons is overcome.

The Bishop must help form the honest conscience of politicians, of the leaders of nations, in order to para oppose and denounce systematic and organized corruption and to foster interest for the common good.

5.The Bishop and inculturation

The proclamation of the Gospel is required without ambiguity, with St. Paul as the model of evangelization of cultures in all ages, without imposition.

We must recall that beneficial popular religiosity is a great religious reserve for the new evangelization; it can lead to conversion, the change of criteria and the conservation of authentic values.

The Bishop and all the pastoral personnel must utilize in their evangelizing mission, with dynamism and creativity, all the means of communication offered today by the rapid scientific and technological advances. He face with courage and firmness all the calls of the modern "areopagus", web pages and the "virtual pulpit".

The Church throughout the centuries has inculturated the Gospel in the different artistic manifestations of cultures, so that the cultural patrimony of the Church not only testifies to the past, but is a valid means of evangelization; this inheritance must not only be preserved but increased with new expressions of art.

[00325-02.04] [cm012] [Original text: Spanish]


The following Synodal Fathers only delivered their interventions in writing, without presenting them in the Hall:

Below are the summaries of the interventions not presented in the Hall, but delivered in the written form by the Synodal Fathers:

H.E. Most Rev. Buti Joseph TLHAGALE, O.M.I., Archbishop of Bloemfontein, (South Africa).

1. Collegiality.

The members of the SACBC propose that collegiality of the bishops be made more effective.

Since ecclesial communion defines the Church and is central to the renewal desired by the Second

Vatican Council and since there is an intimate connection between this ideal of communion and the

role of the bishops, the SACBC proposes to seek concrete steps to make this collegiality more

effective. The consultative status of the Synod of Bishops is not considered sufficient. The present

status often gives the impression that collegiality is not much more than a verbal statement but

corresponding reality.

The concrete measures which could transform the Synod of Bishops into a deliberative structure

cannot be proposed here and it will also be impossible to determine these during the synod itself. The

SACBC therefore proposes that such a structure be elaborated through a world-wide process of study

and consultation.

One method of such a study process cou1d be to ask all Episcopal Conferences to draw up, in

collaboration with groups and institutions of their area, proposals within one year. The Council of the

General Secretariat of the Synod could then collate these and present them to the Episcopal

Conference again for their comment. The major alternatives emanating from these comments could

then be presented to the next General Assembly for finalization and presentation to the Holy Father.

A prolonged process would be a first concrete step towards the realization of effective collegiality. lt

would also make the Episcopal Conferences aware that a deliberative status of the Synod of Bishops

would depend on their acceptance of a greatly increased responsibility.

2. Episcopal Conferences. The members of the SACBC propose that Episcopal Conferences

should be given increased importance.

Since the Church is a communion of all particular Churches and since the Bishop is responsible

for the building up of the Church at both local and universal level the bishops of the SACBC believe

that more weight needs to be given to the episcopal conferences. The bishops feel that the episcopal

conferences are more than an appropriate technical agency. These conferences are natural

instruments of achieving the divine plan of ecclesial Communion. Just as human nature, in the way it

was created by God, makes the local assembly of the faithful a theological instrument, the

human nature also makes the bishops conferences an instrument of theological order. The co-

operation within Episcopal Conferences needs to be carefully balanced with the individuality and

autonomy of dioceses but should receive its proper theological status.

3. Subsidiarity.

The members of the SACBC propose that subsidiarity be recognised as a divinely instituted principle for designing the cooperation between the various levels of the government of the Church.

Subsidiarity should be seen as the principle which God’s wisdom has willed for all relationships. It

therefore should also be seen as the principle governing the relationship between the Bishop and the

College of Bishops, between the College of Bishops and the Bishop of Rome, between the Episcopal

Conferences and the individual Bishop, and between the Episcopal Conferences and the Roman


4. Time-limit of the office of the Bishop. The members of the SACBC propose that a further

time-limitation should be established for the office of the Bishop.

The increasingly rapid changes in the world and in the Church make it advisable to further limit the

term of office of the bishop. The present limitation of the term of office to the age of seventy five

years is no longer sufficient because it leads to the fact that only older bishops are elected in order to

avoid bishops remaining in office for very long periods. The bishops of the SACBC are aware that a

further limitation of the term of office would entail not only one but several changes and would have

several implications. These should be elaborated through wider consultation and study.

[00308-02.04] [IS001] [Original text: English]

H. Em. Card. Carlo Maria MARTINI, S.I., Archbishop of Milan (Italy).

1. During the discussion in the Hall, very little was said about the systematic Pastoral Visit to all the parishes and ecclesiastic institutions of the Diocese, a visit which is one of the primary commitments of the Bishop and which is dealt with in the Instrumentum Laboris no. 121. This visit must be well prepared and planned in an atmosphere of faith and must be done personally by the Bishop, also with the help of collaborators. It might be opportune to look into the dioceses to see if and how this privileged form of contact between the Bishop and the faithful is carried out.

2. Various interventions opportunely dealt with the relationship between the Bishop and the Word of God. I would like to recall a double aspect: that of the Bishop who personally cultivates that praying contact with the Scriptures "which draws from the biblical text the living word which questions, directs and shapes our lives" (NMI, no. 39); and that of the Bishop who guides and helps the faithful, in particular the young, to pray starting with the Scriptures. It is important that it is the Bishop himself who explains the Scriptures in the Cathedral and invites the young to pray with him.

3. Reflection on the Bishop as an Instrument of Communion in the Local Church, and how the person representing and interpreting it leads to asking oneself how to make it possible for the local church to recognize itself as an expression of its Bishop, starting from the procedures used to look for the right candidates.

[00323-02.03] [is002] [Original text: Italian]



The next Bulletin No. 25 for Friday, October 19th 2001, will be available to the accredited journalists at the conclusion of the work of the Twenty-first General Congregation (First Ballot for the Post-Synodal Council and the Presentation of the Draft of the Message).

Tomorrow, Wednesday October 17th 2001, Bulletin No. 01-C, with the updated and corrected List of Participants, will be available, substituting Bulletin No. 01-B of October 5th 2001.


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