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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


26 - 06.12.1997



The Twenty-second General Congreagation of the Special Assembly for America of the Synod of Bishops commenced today, 6 December 1997, the Feast of St. Nicholas of Bari, Bishop of Mira, at 9:05 a.m., with the chant of the Third Hour, in the Synod Hall, for the election of the Post-Synod Council and for the conclusion of the general debate on the first draft of the Message. President Delegate on duty: H. Exc. Most Rev. Msgr. Darío CASTRILLÓN HOYOS , Pro-Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy.


The voting for the election of the Post-Synod Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops was held in the Twenty-second General Congregation.

During the opening of the voting procedure, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, H. Em. Rev. Card. Jan P. SCHOTTE, C.I.C.M. gave the following communication:

"Voting for the Post-Synodal Council takes place according to the norms of Canon Law.

"Particular attention needs to be drawn to the fact that the voting is by secret ballot and according to a roll call of the Synod Fathers. Consequently, the ballots for the first vote, completed beforehand at each Father's residence, are not to be signed. At the time of balloting, the name of each Synod Father is to be called out; the Synod Father is to respond, ‘adsum’ and hand his ballot to the assistant.

"Since the voting is secret, no Father may delegate another person to vote in his place.

"Once the ballots have been collected, the commission of ballot counters meets in the designated room near the Synod Hall. Once the ballots are counted, the results are announced in the Synod Hall.

"In the first vote, members are elected by an absolute majority. If the first vote does not result in the election of a full Council by an absolute majority, the voting proceeds to a second ballot in which those places remaining to the Council are filled by members who are elected by receiving a relative majority."

After the counting of the vote, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, announced the results of the first vote.

Then, the second vote took place. The names of those elected after the second vote to the Post-Synod Council will be made known during the twenty-third General Assembly on Tuesday, 9 December 1997.


Afterwards, H. Em. Rev. Card. Miloslav VLK , Archbishop of Prague, President of the Council of Episcopal Conferences for Europe (C.C.E.E.) intervened.

Herewith follows the summary of the intervention:

H. Em. Rev. Card. Miloslav VLK , Archbishop of Prague, President of the Council of Episcopal Conferences for Europe (C.C.E.E.)

I bring to you the warmest greetings of the European Bishops. The theme for the next Special Assembly for Europe of the Synod of Bishops will be: "Jesus living in his Church, source of hope for Europe". There is, then, in the Church of today, a common search for the God who is present, a search for the God that one can experience even in a secularized world.

Truly, we experienced this in the Czech Republic during the Communist persecution, when the activity of the Church was limited to liturgical celebrations. We had begun to meet in the forests and the mountains. It was really there that many of us lived an experience never before known to us, and we discovered the reality of the presence of Jesus according to his word: "For where two or three meet in my name, I am there among them" (Mt. 18,20).

It was surprising for us to see how persons, even those lukewarm in the faith, encountering the Resurrected one alive among us, found anew the way to the sacraments. And it was his presence, that filled us - even in the midst of dangers - with joy and peace.

I have begun to convince myself that this was not merely a psychological or social phenomenon, but rather the reality of faith. To be united "in the name of Jesus" means, in fact: in his love, and thus in the Holy Spirit, rendering real and operating that love which "has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit" (Cf. Rm. 5,5).

This special presence of Christ can also be brought about by the laity. Mary, the great lay woman of the Church, can become, with her Marian charism, their unparalleled model and the person who indicates the way to them: Mary, who was the first to bring Jesus into the world and who did so as no other.

In a different and yet somehow similar way, all baptized men and women are able to do the same. And it is herein that lies the fulcrum of every Christian animation of the world. This is the first step of our evangelization, which can only have Christ himself as protagonist.

[00286-02.05] [00216] [Original text: Italian]


Then, the debate on the first draft of the Message continued in the Hall. There were 28 Fathers, 7 Auditors and the President of the Commission for the Message who intervened.

The text of the Message will be presented and brought to a vote, in the Twenty-third General Congregation of Tuesday, 9 December, 1997.


During this General Congregation, which concluded at 12.45pm, with the prayer "Angelus Domini," there were present 206 Fathers.


This afternoon, and tomorrow, Sunday, 7 December, the Relators of the Small Groups, under the direction of the Relator General, and with the help of the Special Secretaries and Experts, will continue the work of unifying the propositions prepared and approved by the individual Small Groups in order to obtain the integrated list of propositions that will be presented in the Twenty-third General Congregation of Tuesday, 9 December, 1997.

The publication of the next Bulletin, No. 27, is planned for Tuesday, 9 December, 1997.


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