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16 November-12 December 1997

"Encounter with the Living Jesus Christ,
the Way to Conversion, Communion and Solidarity in America"

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


14 - 24.11.1997




At 09.15 today, with the singing of the "Third Hour", in the presence of the Holy Father, the Eleventh General Congregation of the Special Assembly of the synod of Bishops for America was held, with the continuation of the debate on the Synodal theme "Encounter with the living Jesus Christ, the Way to Conversion, Communion and Solidarity in America". President Delegate on duty was H. Em. Card. Eugênio DE ARAÚJO SALES, Archbishop of São Sebastião of Rio de Janeiro.

At the opening of the session, John Paul II said the following words:

"Yesterday Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Secretary of State, celebrated his seventieth birthday.

On behalf of everyone, I would like to express our best wishes, so that the Lord will be near him, providing him with help and support in undertaking his tasks as the principal collaborator of the Pope."

The following Fathers intervened:

H.Em. Card. Angelo SODANO , Secretary of State

H.Em. Card. Jozef TOMKO , Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

H.Exc. Most Rev. Luis Armando BAMBARÉN GASTELUMENDI , S.J., Bishop of Chimbote

H.Exc. Most Rev. Leopoldo José BRENES SOLÓRZANO , Bishop of Matagalpa

H.Exc. Most Rev. Ramón Ovidio PÉREZ MORALES , Archbishop of Maracaibo

H.Exc. Most Rev. Lorenzo LEÓN ALVARADO , O. de M., Bishop of Huacho

Rev. Fr. Richard NEUHAUS , Director of the Institute on Religion and Public Life

H.Exc. Most Rev. Henri GOUDREAULT , O.M.I., Archbishop of Grouard - McLennan

H.Exc. Most Rev. Maurice COUTURE , R.S.V., Archbishop of Québec

H.Exc. Most Rev. René FERNÁNDEZ APAZA , Archbishop of Cochabamba

Rev. Fr. José Luis NEMES , C.S.S., Superior General of the Congregation of the Holy Stigmata of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (UNION OF SUPERIORS GENERAL)

H.Exc. Most Rev. Antonio CAMILO GONZÁLEZ , Bishop of La Vega

H.Exc. Most Rev. Guido BREÑA LÓPEZ , O.P., Bishop of Ica

H.Exc. Most Rev. Darío CASTRILLÓN HOYOS , Archbishop Emeritus of Bucaramanga, Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy

H.Exc. Most Rev. Víctor Hugo MARTÍNEZ CONTRERAS , Archbishop of Los Altos, Quetzaltenango-Totonicapán

H.Exc. Most Rev. Iñaki MALLONA TXERTUDI , C.P., Bishop of Arecibo

The following Fraternal Delegates also intervened:

H. Gr. Bp. NICHOLAS OF AMISSOS , Bishop of Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese

Rev. Trevor EDWARDS , General Secretary of the Jamaica Baptist Union, Caribbean Conference of Churches

There follows the text of the speech by the Secretary of State:

H.Em. Card. Angelo SODANO , Secretary of State

In this Synodal Assembly, we have been reflecting on three consequences of encounter with Christ: conversion, communion, and solidarity.

On my part, I would like, today, to underline that which is of value not only for the individual Christian, but also globally, for all people. The encounter with Christ must both bring our communities to repudiate every nationalist egoism, and bring us to open ourselves to universal fraternity.

Fortunately, that virus of blind nationalism, which has caused so much evil in this century to various peoples of Europe and which today is infecting some regions of Africa, has not taken root in America.

"Who stays watchful, does not fall," the teachers of the spirit instruct us. In fact, here and there, in America, some worrisome, nationalistic attitudes have been recently noted. It is true that such infirmity is not directly born in a Christian environment, but rather, traces its origin in the ambitions of political parties or from pressures of military groups. In order to acquire or to maintain power, often one resorts also to the comfortable shield of nationalism.

I believe that it is urgent for Catholics, Pastors and the faithful, to crush at the roots the upsurge and the spread of such aberrations.

In such regard, I have read with pleasure, the brochure of CELAM, entitled: "Contributions to the Preparation of the Synod for America," with its specific chapter dedicated to the culture of peace. With great satisfaction, afterwards, I heard that some Synodal Fathers have already underlined, in this Hall, the right to educate the peoples in the ideals of peace.

Unfortunately at times, the Governors of determinate Nations seek to involve some Bishop in their political theses. Certainly, it is not easy to escape from such pressures, which are often camouflaged by the ideal of a just love of country. It is obvious that a Pastor is the spokesman of the Gospel, and not of the Government.

In such regard, one important example of this, was given by the Bishops of Argentina and Chile, during the dispute which emerged between their two Countries in 1977, concerning the borders in the southern zone. Those Bishops did not enter into the specific, complicated problems with regard to territorial delimitations, and did not put themselves into the position of debating how one would have to interpret the "Tratado di limites" of 1881, or the Protocol of 1883, but they made an appeal to the higher good of peace.

They did not enter into the problems with regard to whether one or the other small islands of the Beagle Canal belong to Argentina or to Chile, but always insisted that peace is worth more than any other consideration. And it was a pastoral line of action, with the mediation of Pope John Paul II, that in the end, brought the controversy between the two sister Nations, to a happy resolution.

How many times those Pastors, on one side or the other of the Andes, have repeated that celebrated phrase pronounced by the Servant of God, Pope Pius XII, at the first signs of the last World War: "Everything can be lost through war. Everything is gained through peace". Yes, everything is gained through peace.

Today as well, facing the danger of new nationalisms, we are called to be heralds of the Gospel of peace, without tiring of repeating: "Love your neighbor as yourself. Love your neighboring Nation as your own!"

In the international sector, I am sure, then, that the American Bishops will continue to support the efforts of the Holy See for all its noble initiatives towards peace.

I am equally certain that their support for the United Nations Organization or other regional organizations will not be lacking, when they promote concrete initiatives for disarmament. So it was in the past when they backed the honorable initiative for prohibition of nuclear arms in Latin America and the Caribbean (with the Treaty of Tlateloco of 14 February 1967) or when, last year, they supported the Convention against nuclear testing in general (Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty, of 24 September 1996). So it must be today, supporting, for example, the international treaty against anti-personnel mines, that has to be signed in Ottawa in the coming month of December. On that occasion the Holy See will also be present, according to the wishes of the Holy Father John Paul II.

It is wholly a pedagogy of peace which today we must develop. Thus, we also, will merit the seventh Beatitude, as promised to us by Christ: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven."

[00172-02.06] [00160] [Original text: Italian]

Herein we publish the summaries of the following speeches:

H.Em. Card. Jozef TOMKO , Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples

The Church in America called upon to answer the question: What is the future of missions? This question is essential for America and this Synod. It is essential because in America there are regions of authentic missionary activity among non-Christian groups; and also in Church communities with barely a minimum of clergy, and who are without the means to support themselves. A good example of these non-baptized groups: natives, Afro-Americans, American Indians, and emigrants from Asia and Oceania, as well as the 82 Ecclesiastical Districts which today continue to depend on the missionary congregation: ten in the zone of Canada, Alaska and the Islands of S. Pierre et Miquelon; 8 in Central America; 20 in the Caribbean zone;and 44 in South America. Above all it is an essential question because it is an explicit and ultimate mandate of the Lord and we may consider it His witness: " Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations..." (Mt 29,19). It is essential because it is directed to a world inhabited by 5.9 billion human beings, of which 3.7 billion are non-Christians, and therefore clearly affirms the immediacy and urgency of Christ’s Mandate. Half the Catholic Church live in America and, by its very nature, it is a missionary Church. It cannot remain indifferent to the demands of the missionary world out beyond its frontiers: Africa, Oceania and, most of all, Asia. And therefore it should: 1) Promote consciousness of missionary duty in every one of us. And also, more than anyone, it should stimulate the clergy and, from the seminary on, offer aspirants to the priesthood a missiological and missionary training; 2) See that the missionary dimension really is the "primordial element" of all the ordinary pastoral of the diocese, as the Redemptoris Missio (RM 83) asks of us; 3) Promote missionary "life" vocations; 4) Send out diocesan "Fidei domum" priests to missions for some years. Not giving the superfluous, which does not exist, but from and of their own poverty (cf. Puebla 368; S.Domingo 125; 295,3), and also their personal care, for, " he who gives most, will receive most". 5) Let one or more dioceses send out , in turn, a team of missionaries (priests, nuns and some prepared laymen) to evangelizing responsibility for a mission or a missionary district, as some Dioceses are already doing in Colombia. 6) Promote spiritual and material missionary cooperation among all God’s people: the children, young people, adults, the elderly, the consecrated and contemplative clergy. As an element of consciousness and solidarity between North and South America, has been proposed that the next Congreso Misionario Latinoamericano (Latin American Missionary Congress) (COMLA VI) - to be held in Argentina - will also be open to, and extend to, North America: the American Missionary Congress (AMCO I).

[000177-00402] [00163] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Luis Armando BAMBARÉN GASTELUMENDI , S.J., Bishop of Chimbote

We affirm these actualities on our Continent:

1. On one side - a young church, full of life, faithful to the Pope, with a continuing growth of vocations, and the foundation of numerous Congregations and Institutes of consecrated life. Also there is a commitment to pastoral renewal in many dioceses; it seems that the parishes have become a community of communities, with an appreciable participation of the laity.

2. On the other side - one attests to a divorce between Faith and life. Our people feel menaced by an individualist and consumerist pseudo-culture, whose aim is "effectively," prescindng from ethics. This conduces each one to form their own religion and morality, with an all-encompassing subjectivism.

Our people are victims of economic globalization, which benefits the rich of the rich countries and the rich of the poor countries, generating an increasing poverty and misery, there being each day a greater number of individuals that survive on less than one dollar per day.

Formation in the faith and the social pastoral, must go forth accompanied by lucid criteria and critical meaning, with a Christian vision of mankind and the world, in order to discern the good and the evil of globalization and thus safeguard our Christian identity.

[00152-02.04] [00140] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Leopoldo José BRENES SOLÓRZANO , Bishop of Matagalpa

Christ, sent by the Father, He himself, makes us participants in his mission: "Thus as the Father sends me, I also send you." (Jn 20,21).

"Go throughout the world and announce the good news" (Mk 16,15)

Christ, by instituting his Church, never, in any moment, thought of Her established or passive, rather better, as active, disestablished, serving.

Even today, and with pride, we can say that our continent, in its majority is Catholic; however, also we cannot deny that the greater part of our Catholics have renounced the faith, taking steps to become part of Sects and other religious groups.

The reasons could be many, but one of the greatest is that we do not go towards the lost sheep.

Evangelization, Instrumentum Laboris, No. 30, reminds us, this has been a preoccupation of the Church since the Second Vatican Council, and it continues to be such, actually in a special way, for the coming celebration of the Jubilee of the year 2000.

Christ, wishes to unite with the man and the woman in America, however he needs us, equally to when He sent the 72.

The appeal of the Pope to realize a New Evangelization continues and is a great challenge.

How beautiful, that from this place in which the Holy Spirit has come together with us, that He himself gives us a missionary spirit, in order to make the Church in America, the Missionary Church, the Pilgrim Church, who accepts the challenge of going to each man and woman in America, in order to have their encounter with the living Jesus Christ, the way to conversion, communion and solidarity.

[00153-02.04] [00141] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Ramón Ovidio PÉREZ MORALES , Archbishop of Maracaibo

Evangelization is a complete task, multi-dimensional, that comprehends: (1) missionary announcement, formation in the faith, prayer-liturgy, organization of the visible community, human promotion and "dialogue for communion and participation". (2) The "world" reality, is not something extraneous to the Church, as the Church is sign and instrument, sacrament (Cf. Lumen gentium 1), of the salvation-unification, which God, One and Triune, actuates in history, in all humanity.

From the aforementioned, one understands why this Synod, in speaking of Jesus Christ and of the God-Love which He reveals to us, must deal with the personal and communitarian encounter with God, in prayer and the liturgy, but also sharing solidality with one’s neighbors, (individuals and countries), as the consequence/condition of that encounter. One understands why one has asked already for a joint prophetic word in favor of the forgiving of, or lessening of external debt (that is becoming "eternal") in this reunion in which North and South congregate. Through this, equally, we have to denounce the irrationality and the internal corruption that have caused and effect also the impoverishment of our countries of the South.

From this same perspective of communion, one has to face some fundamental, that has been defined as the goal and horizon of the new evangelization, to wit, the evangelization of culture, understanding this term in the full sense of the totality of life of a people or process of humanization, with a special emphasis on the centers where cultural status is generated.

The sector of evangelization of culture makes of the laity the agents of the first level. Santo Domingo has spoken of their protagonism, of their real and specific mission, without forgetting the help that they can render in tasks "of delegation". One does not treat only of forming them, asking for their collaboration and "sending them," but also of listening to them (in economics, politics, culture), associating them with the process of reflection (moral, anthropological, theological-pastoral), entrusting to them new and ever-increasing responsibilities.

[00154-02.06] [00142] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Lorenzo LEÓN ALVARADO , O. de M., Bishop of Huacho

The encounter with the living Jesus Christ, is certainly the important theme of our Synod as a preparation for the great Jubilee of the year 2000. It is opportune to point out that all the chapters of the Instrumentum Laboris have as a title and key thesis that of encounter. I think that this Synod should unfold this key theme of Encounter with all its richness, human and theological, as an encounter among individuals that always must be an experience of joy, of friendship, and of life. In this sense, the finality of the Synod cannot be that of generating in the whole of the Church in America, this personal encounter with the living Jesus Christ, helping, with its ministry those men and women of our continent to participate in the joy of this encounter. An encounter person to person, friend to friend, heart to heart.

Jubilee is always a time of special grace, "a blessed day of the Lord": as such, it holds a character of happiness.

It is a time of grace, of joy and of life because we are placed, in an attitude of awe and gratitude, before the love of God that beckons us. It is a time of rediscovering the originality of which, as the Pope has affirmed, Christianity differs from other religions. It is not mankind searching for God but God himself searching for us because he loves us and wants to reunite us. (TMA 6 and 7). Through Jesus Christ, God not only speaks to humanity, but he also seeks us. In Christ, there is the encounter of God and humanity. By such, the expediency of presenting Christ to the world, all-richness and gift of God, to humanity. The Church on our Continent must be the servant and mediatrix of this encounter through which mankind lives.

The encounter is with Christ, with an individual who gives life and not only with an institution or a doctrine. The encounter which reaches the heart and transforms it through the power of the Good News. Encounter with Christ as friend (Jn: 1,39), as a companion on the road who shares a meal (Lk. 15:20-24), as a Father who waits with open arms and the table set (Lk 15, 20-24). An encounter which is always free, the Good News which healed the whole man and returned to him his dignity and his will to live.

It is necessary to always bear in mind that the meeting with the living Jesus Christ is also a meeting with the God of Jesus Christ, "For this is how God loved the world: he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life" (Jn 3:16). Meeting this God who is love and mercy as we contemplate Him in the enlightening Encylical "Dives in misericordia" of Pope John Paul II. Likewise, we should underline that meeting Jesus Christ also means meeting Him in every brother and sister who suffers.

[00155-02.04] [00143] [Original text: Castilian]

Rev. Fr. Richard NEUHAUS , Director of the Institute on Religion and Public Life

A new initiative called "Evangelicals and Catholics Together" offers the promise and challenge of working with evangelical Protestants in evangelizing America and the world in the next century.

Supported by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, and in cooperation with CELAM, this initiative is based on the ecclesiology of Lumen Gentium and advances the vision of Redemptoris Missio. It is a challenge and promise that should be courageously embraced by this Synod.

[00156-02.02] [00144] [Original text: English]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Henri GOUDREAULT , O.M.I., Archbishop of Grouard - McLennan

My intervention will deal with the globalization of the economy (n. 28 of the instrumentum laboris). I shall speak about 1) the race for profit; 2) the globalization of the economy; 3) the price we are paying for this situation; 4) some proposed actions to improve control of the economy.1) The race for profit means that a person is put at the service of the economy rather than the economy at the service of the person. Financial giants set governments in competition in order to obtain increasingly generous guarantees and advantages. 2) Globalization of the economy as urged by the multinationals has become a reality. Two hundred multinationals control more than a quarter of the world’s economic activity. The multilateral agreement on investments (MAI), now in negotiation, will give them still more power and freedom. Moreover there exists a new world market based on speculation where financial transactions are 72 times higher than trade in commodities. 3) The price we pay for a situation like this is extremely high at the level of employment, ecology, resources and culture. 4) The proposed actions are numerous. I shall refer to five. a) Educate people through teaching the social doctrine of the Church b) As far as governments are concerned, try to stop being puppets in the hands of the financial giants c) Vitalize the negotiation power of the NGOs; e.g. in Canada, Developpement et Paix d) Have strong trade unions to demand that the system be humanized e) In the spirit of the Jubilee, consider the question of the partial or total erasing of the debts of poor countries. This is a complex reality. It needs experts and there will probably be several sides to the solution.

[00157-02.05] [00145] [Original text: French]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Maurice COUTURE , R.S.V., Archbishop of Québec

Spiritual matters are regaining popularity in Canada, but this largely concerns the spirituality of a long list of religious movements inspired by the esoteric, New Age groups, oriental methods of meditation, etc. We often find Catholics are open to these more or less woolly theories without seeing how far they are incompatible with Christian faith, as in the case of reincarnation, for example. On the whole, the expansion of new religious movements (NRM)

is a sign of spiritual search which has led off the beaten track. I am obviously speaking about

movements that deserve the name of religious; but there are also others which claim this term to mask organizations that are merely commercial, ideological or pseudo-scientific.

I shall indicate four challenges which this social phenomenon holds for the Church.

1 - The Church should start to listen to the spiritual search manifest in the NRMs. Here we might find significant indications of spiritual needs which our Church has been unable to answer: e.g. the fascination of the Bible and the longing for interior experience.

2 - React as Christians to the presence of NRMs. It is one thing to enlighten the faithful about NRM techniques of approach, and quite another thing to associate ourselves the unjust attacks from certain media.

3- Open the gates to reconciliation with people who have left the church for a NRM. Right or wrong, these people often feel excluded from the Church. So the Church must find ways of healing their wounds and restoring dialogue with them.

4 - Offer suitable help to people disturbed by the NRMs. This concerns those whose religious experience has been negative or those who have watched someone close to them move on to a new "religion". Here the dioceses would need to set up meeting places to receive them. To sum up, the biggest challenge the Church faces in regard to NRMs lies in channeling spiritual search to the real encounter with the living Jesus Christ.

[00158-02.04] [00246] [Original text: French]

H.Exc. Most Rev. René FERNÁNDEZ APAZA , Archbishop of Cochabamba

Challenges to the family and the life of today. Cultural exchange has had a considerable impact on the traditional image of the family. Freely consenting unions, couples married by civil rites alone, as well as divorces and abortions, are becoming more and more numerous. Many people have forgotten God’s project for marriage and the family, which joins a man and his wife in true love unto death. Family Pastoral. The Church proclaims the importance of the family, and at the same time the priority of family life is strengthened within an integral, organic plan. Pastoral for families in difficult situations. The family pastoral plan should give special attention to families in difficult situations. These include unmarried mothers, so that in no way should they feel excluded from the Church; similarly irregular marriages should be helped to maintain their faith and continue to feel they are members of the Church. Defense of life at all levels and stages. Today, more than ever, human life is threatened at its most crucial stages from the beginning to the end. Government campaigns, supported by powerful transnational associations, try to solve the problem through the massive distribution of contraceptives. Enlightened by the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church is assuming, with an increasing lucidity, the defense of humans conceived but not yet born, as an essential part of its mission of evangelization and liberation. The family pastoral plan together with the social pastoral plan, must counteract the campaigns of parties in favor of abortion, contraceptives and divorce, and denounce violations against the justice and dignity of the family by assisting families of the poorest sectors, both rural and urban. The Church must also defend the aged and the terminally ill over whom hangs the threat of death before its natural time (euthanasia). Confronted by these ideologies it is necessary to reaffirm the principle of humane accompaniment for every person in the last moments of life.

[00159-02.04] [00147] [Original text: Castilian]

Rev. Fr. José Luis NEMES , C.S.S., Superior General of the Congregation of the Holy Stigmata of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (UNION OF SUPERIORS GENERAL)

For historical and ecclesial reasons lay people are faithful Christians who, in Latin America, had and still have difficulty in clarifying their role in the Church. No doubt, it is easier to determine the contribution that the lay faithful, men and women, can offer in an ecclesial framework instead of discovering the most appropriate means for the vast horizons - some of them have not yet been explored - of commitment in secular situations.

For this reason bishops, priests, consecrated men and women have a debt to settle, a basic and final commitment with the lay faithful.

The ministers who hold a holy power receive the mission to serve other brothers and sisters as teachers of doctrine and guides in the government of the Church.

Charisms and spirituality of the Institutes of consecrated life can be shared with the lay faithful to help the latter participate in an active, aware and responsible way in the mission of the Church, as a gift to animate the work of evangelization within the secular framework.

Therefore, what are urgent are constant commitment, planned action, a pedagogical method on the part of bishops, priests, consecrated men and women in view of fostering knowledge, awareness and putting into practice the role of the lay baptized in the life of the People of God.

One of the factors which prevents the Christian lay faithful to take an initiative in ecclesial and temporal issues is the rigid structure of the hierarchy and religious life due to a long tradition.

To mobilize and group together forces in view of communion and intraecclesial solidariety, allow me to express the following suggestion: that at the level of national episcopal conferences a plan is prepared according to goals, means and methods which can be applied in all the dioceses to direct and help the lay faithful in their mission in the Church and in the world.

[00160-02.04] [00148] [Original text: Portoguese]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Antonio CAMILO GONZÁLEZ , Bishop of La Vega

In all the countries of Latin America there is a great potential in youth. In the Dominican Republic, 73% of the population of a total of 7.5 million, is under the age of 30. In accordance with the First National Pastoral Plan, all the local churches in the Dominican Republic have been committed for a year to joint pastoral activity, and we have all followed it. Pastoral activity for youth has played a primary role in the communities, parishes and dioceses as well as on the national level with the direct, efficient support of the Dominican Episcopal Conference. We can say that youth pastoral activity has played an important role in the creation of the ecclesial community.

Youth pastoral activity has played a primary role in all the dioceses, so that there has been an increase in commitment by the lay faithful and an evident rise in the number and quality of vocations for priests and religious, especially in the diocesan seminaries.

As the Holy Father said in the World Youth Meeting held in Manila, we believe that human life is in itself a vocation requiring a generous, persevering response through love. The important thing for everyone is not just to live, but to encounter the meaning of life. The true meaning of human life is given by Jesus Christ, through vocation.: "I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance." Vocation gives fullness to life. For those who have the good fortune to discover their vocation, life is richer in meaning. Vocation increases its potential, with greater yield and satisfaction.

The secret of pastoral success in the Latin American Church has been found to be in its devotion to young people and the family.

What do young people in America hope to receive from us, their pastors?

1. That we may meet them, welcome them with love and trust, offering them support and assistance.

2. That we may encourage our priests to pay attention to young people in the parishes, to integrate them in churches and communities.

3. That we bishops may meet young people on special occasions like school graduation ceremonies. Next year, dedicated to the Holy Spirit, we should give the sacrament of Confirmation, and provide young people with words of encouragement for their future, an incitement to vocations.

[00161-02.04] [00149] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Guido BREÑA LÓPEZ , O.P., Bishop of Ica

Jesus Christ , Redeemer of "all mankind and the whole person", is the center of the Synod and the Jubilee. Preparing for and living the Synod and Jubilee should therefore be a profound experience of the "encounter with the living Jesus Christ, the way to conversion, communion and solidarity." This will enable Christian life in our countries to acquire vigor. In Jesus Christ, God not only speaks to man but also seeks him. God and man meet in Christ. The Church is the servant and mediator of this encounter so that man may live.

The joyful, firm proclamation of Christ’s Good News is therefore essential, since no other name is given to men to ensure salvation (Ac 4:12).

Evangelization is the Church’s perennial mission. Evangelizing, as His Holiness John Paul II said, "Is to announce Christ’s Good News to everyone so that they may have life" (Piura, Peru 1985).

In the context of the Synod and the Jubilee, the ecclesial community and solidarity in America require us to do the following:

- To continue building up and strengthening our unity and pluralism, living the mystery of the church as the Mystical Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:27-28);

- Increasingly seek out the procedures which will allow for a greater sharing of goods within the church.

I believe that in this Synodal Assembly for America we are called upon to propose some concrete goals of solidarity with the poor. These goals, required by the values of Jesus’ Gospel and the integral promotion of man, could also include the following:

1. To advance on the way opened up by some episcopates, organizations of the Holy See and Pope John Paul II himself in setting the goal of the Jubilee as the total remission of the foreign debt of the poor countries, or at least its significant reduction, especially for basic ethical reasons and for social programs.

2. To seek to create multinational initiatives aimed at the fair distribution of resources and food for the hood of mankind. This initiative could help deal with hunger in the world and the scandal of the food surplus which some rich countries destroy.

3. To propose a world agreement on the reduction of armaments, limiting trade in all types of weapons in order to stop the culture of death and war.

We should support the fight against the destruction of the environment. The obsession with profit has no respect for the habitat of people today and in the future.

[00162-02.04] [00150] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Darío CASTRILLÓN HOYOS , Archbishop Emeritus of Bucaramanga, Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy

1. By the will of Christ priest work in a community in the person of Christ as Head. That is what 131,800 priests do in America. His sanctification is a requisite for them to bear witness and to achieve a meeting between the community and the living risen Christ.

2. United with Christ, the priests must accompany their brothers and sisters in conversion.

-Conversion of the Holy Spirit to the revealed truth with its certainties.

- Conversion to the plan of God on life, by revealing to our brothers and sisters the plan of God on sex and life, so that they can convert to this plan.

- Meeting Christ from there, to create, strengthen and live communion with God in the Church and with our brothers and sisters.

- From communion in Christ to promote solidarity on the Continent with exchange of gifts, pastoral solidarity, human solidarity and social solidarity.

[00163-02.04] [00151] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Víctor Hugo MARTÍNEZ CONTRERAS , Archbishop of Los Altos, Quetzaltenango-Totonicapán

The Synod for America is a gift and grace of the Holy Spirit. In addition, this Synod breaks a 500 year silence during which we mutually ignored each other. We are the protagonists of mutual ignorance, of our indifference and inconsistency of our faith.

The fact of meeting the living Jesus Christ leads us to the coordinates of conversion, communion and solidarity. In this new historical beginning of relations with the north, the center and the south, in line with the new evangelization, starting from the proclamation of Jesus Christ to mankind and culture, and in particular starting from an exchange of criteria of judgment, we judge and transform in the light of the gospel, determining values, points of interest and lines of thought and the inspiring sources which are in contrast with the Word of God and His design of salvation (cfr. Evangelii nuntiandi No.19).

Therefore, I suggest the following pastoral lines of communion and solidarity:

Creating in the northern zone an organization for permanent dialogue and communication with other zones. Arranging meetings with the different episcopates in view of creating a more human relationship for mutual knowledge. Fostering visits by bishops to the different dioceses in order to exchange experience of pastoral life in the different local churches and mutual help with the pastoral agents. Encouraging the priests to help each other during their vacations, to help ethnic groups, learn a language and exchange pastoral experience among the different areas of America. Let’s hope the bishops who speak English can attend courses, workshops, simposiums, etc. organized by CELAM on the real situation in Latin America and themes for further in-depth theological study.

Our conversion moves between light and darkness.

Therefore, it is necessary for us to double our efforts to "make Christ our Savior present", so that the following situations will change: the sacristy of qualified ministers for new evangelization; secularization of society, whence a predominating absence of radically Christian values; counter testimony of some inconsistent Christians and ecclesial divisions which create obvious scandals in the Christian community; an outcry for urgent justice; corruption in public life, wars with huge expenses to prepare for death; lack of solidarity among nations; religious indifference which leads mankind to live as if God did not exist, adapting to a vague religion which leads to a lack of meaning in God and to atheism in its various forms; exploitation of children; "street children"; the race to make money and profit, and possessing material goods; exploitation and marginalization of the native people.

However, these realities must not let us lose hope.

Hope in the Church, that is strongly joined to Her Bishops, priests, religious men and women concentrates on the evangelizing mission which leads the faithful to vital knowledge of the Word of God and the sources of grace of the Sacraments; hope in a rise in growth of vocations to the priesthood in a Church that is strongly committed in a "systematic catechesis" which completes in the faithful the evangelization received. The hope of having young people, who feeling fully welcome and nourished in the Church, bear witness of fidelity to God and to mankind by Him. Hope of lay faithful who are aware and responsible, committed in their ecclesial mission and in putting order in the world according to the plans of God; hope for greater solidarity among nations and in eliminating wars and violence. Hope for ethic groups to maintain their identity and culture without renouncing common solidarity and progress. Hope for the labor movement that struggles for better living conditions and work. Hope for the so called "intellectual sectors" that rediscover the ethnic and cultural value of their people to then serve and promote them.

Lastly, hope for scientists and technical experts who want to put the resources of knowledge at the service of elevating Latin American and bringing more progress.

To make this hope real, the Church must walk along the way of new evangelization. This is new in methods and expressions, and new in ardor. Only through conversion and meeting the living Christ will we be able to be new men and a new society. As a result of this meeting it is necessary to have cultural exchange to reach mutual human knowledge and, stemming from our condition as disciples, share mutual reflection, both in North America, Central America and South America, that will lead us to affective and effective communion.

[00164-02.04] [00152] [Original text: Castilian]

H.Exc. Most Rev. Iñaki MALLONA TXERTUDI , C.P., Bishop of Arecibo

In our Church the heritage of the missionaries is still fresh. She still feels the call of a missionary Church, the mission to proclaim the Lord’s Word to the world and offer salvation through the mysteries of faith. The Church knows that her strength comes from the Lord and that she must remain faithful to the Master who has sent her and to the world who awaits her.

The attitude of believers and the entire ecclesial institution reflects this reality. The Church’s horizons extend throughout the whole world, and she is responsible for all individuals and their salvation. The grace of God is conveyed by the individual churches to all the rest, with the ecclesial community being the sign and blessing in this respect.

The 500th anniversary of the missionaries who founded the Church in America and made her flourish requires us to accept a missionary approach towards every believer and every institution:

1. Believers live in obedience to the will of God who chose them to achieve the fullness and unity of the Church.

2. The work of Christ always manifests itself in the poverty of resources so that we can discover that power is in the Lord.

3. Today, the missionary style requires us more than ever to be in tune with and close to the humble. This nearness may require us - especially the bishops - to have a brotherly and paternal heart.

4. Since we are called upon to preach to the poor, an austere lifestyle is required.

5. Missionaries, especially those to our oppressed people, must proclaim the fatherly love of God to His children.

6. As missionaries, we must preach the cross of Christ and its power as the way to conversion and resurrection.

7. The missionary life and style require a full commitment so that we can somehow be useful to the people of God.

[00165-02.04] [00153] [Original text: Castilian]

There folow the summaries of the interventions by the Fraternal Delegates:

H. Gr. Bp. NICHOLAS OF AMISSOS , Bishop of Carpatho-Russian Orthodox Diocese

The gathering of Roman Catholic Bishops from North, Central, and South America at the Vatican in Synod from November 16, 1997, to December 12, 1997, to learn from each other of the state of the Church and seek among each other remedial means for cure also found representatives from the Orthodox Christian Church and Protestant as "Fraternal Delegates".

His Grace, Bishop Nicholas of Amissos, Diocesan Bishop for the Carpatho-Ruthenian Orthodox Diocese, Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, is the "Fraternal Delegate" and observer, expressing greetings of the Orthodox hierarchy and faithful of America.

Bishop Nicholas in his personal reflection to the Synod spoke of the solidifying effects of the month long visit of His All-Holliness, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople, on the whole Orthodox Church in America and not only on the Greek Orthodox faithful.

The Hierarch pointed out the good will and fraternal ecumenical hospitality towards the Patriarch extended by his Eminence William Cardinal Keeler and Roman Catholic clergy and faithful at the historic venerable Basilica of the Assumption in Baltimore, Maryland. The exchange of gifts, biblical kiss of peace, words of welcome, true service of prayer, the presence of not only Orthodox and Roman Catholic faithful and clergy at this historic setting, but those of other faith traditions, was an indication of the ecumenical presence. The Patriarchal month long visit drew similar crowds from city to city only to remind us that honest dialogue can produce such gathering of faithful Christians.

The Orthodox Bishop pointed out that continuing dialogue into the third millennium will see more apostolic fruitful success among Orthodox and Roman Catholic Churches.

[00179-02.02] [00df2] [Original text: English]

Rev. Trevor EDWARDS , General Secretary of the Jamaica Baptist Union, Caribbean Conference of Churches

Expression of appreciation for the opportunity to participate in the Synod of Bishops.

Affirmation of the contribution of the Roman Catholic leaders in the Caribbean to the ecumenical movement. This leadership has been mature, responsible, balanced and reflective of a true ecumenical spirit.

The region continues its struggle for visible unity among the Churches, evidenced by our participation in the sharing of resources in theological education, public media ownership and joint statements on moral and social issues.

The region is vulnerable to many natural disasters and negative influeneces from the North, with respect to its culture and values. Its stability is threatened by unfair trade relations, the drug trade and unfair immigration policies.

The Synod of Bishops is being called upon to join with the Churches in the region in an advocacy role for 1) a more just international trade system and 2) for more just immigration laws which will reduce deportation of criminal elements and halt the "brain drain" from the region.

We request solidarity in our attempts to be more financially sustainable, and for greater unity in the Church and the region, grounded in our religious heritage and not merely through cricket and the University of the West Indies.

[00178-02.02] [00DF1] [Original text: English]


The Eleventh General Congregation concluded at 12.30 p.m. with the prayer Angelus Domini". There were 218 Fathers present.


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