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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


12 - 05.10.2001



At 17:00 today Friday October 5th 2001, in the presence of the Holy Father, with the prayer Adsumus, the Ninth General Congregation of the X Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops began, for the continuation of the interventions of the Synodal Fathers in the Hall on the Synodal theme The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World. The President Delegate on duty was H. Em. Card. Bernard AGRE, Archbishop of Abidjan.

At this General Congregation which ended at 18:55 with the prayer Angelus Domini 247 Fathers were present.


The following Fathers intervened:

Below are the summaries of the interventions:

H.E. Most Rev. Vincent Michael CONCESSAO, Archbishop of Delhi (India)

A few days ago we were all stunned when we saw on the television the destruction of the World Trade Center and heard about the death of over six thousand innocent people. In some countries of the world today it is a daily affair, and often a sign of despair stemming from helplessness.

There is another kind of subtle, hidden, little spoken of terrorism. I mean the terrorism of an unjust economic system which grinds to death thousands of people everyday. According to a study on international debt published two years ago, eleven million children below the ages of five die every year the world over mainly for lack of food, and health care against preventable diseases.

With the present trend of globalization the situation of the poor is getting worse. Small industries are

closed down depriving thousands of people of gainful employment; the state-spending on the basic requirements of the poor is reduced as part of the structural adjustment programme; the poor are getting further marginalized and driven to despair. They become easy victims to politicians and fundamentalists. Do we have a message of hope for them, not just in words but in concrete action programs?

The statistical situation of poverty in the third millenium is frightening. While nearly one billion of the people of the world are illiterate, over 110 million children of school going age are not in school, nearly 1.3 billion people lack safe potable water and about half of the world population are without access to adequate sanitation, the world spends $400 billion on narcotic drugs and $780 billion on defense and Europe alone spends $50 billion on cigarettes and $105 billion on alcoholic drinks.

There is a frightening sentence in the Second Vatican Council (G, et spes) from the Decree of Gratian: Feed the man dying of hunger because if you are not feeding him, you are killing him. It is a case of murder by omission.

There is enough in the world today for all that people need but not enough for their greed (Mahatma Gandhi). Should we not take a clear stand with and for the poor and against the system in which they do not count? It will be part of our commitment to a culture of life and a civilization of love. Our reasons for hope must be reflected in our celebration of the Word and the Sacraments and also in our day-to-day interaction with people. Matthew was a tax collector, a social outcast. Jesus calls him Come, follow me. Matthew follows him and is transformed. Another example is Zaccheus. Overwhelmed by the gesture of Jesus he is changed. Our ministry is to pass on hope to all.

[00143-02.05] [in118] [Original text: English]

Rev. Fr. Peter-Hans KOLVENBACH, S.I., Superior General of the Society of Jesus.

I would like to make some considerations on interreligious dialogue discussed in the Instrumentum Laboris in chapter 5, numbers 135-136. Under the guidance of the bishops already committed in this field many members of the consecrated life are dedicated to the mission of the Church in undertaking and pursuing interreligiou dialogue, convinced that they will find the only true religion in the faith taught to them by the Catholic Church, to which the Lord Jesus entrusted the mission of proclaiming the good news to all peoples, of any religion. In this mission, difficult and delicate, where one learns to go forward only by trial and error, the consecrated life expects and appreciates the guidance and support of the bishops.

In this mission of dialogue, it will be of great help in the consecrated life for the bishop to promote in his diocese awareness of the meaning and practice of this dialogue. In fact, nearly forty years after the Council, many Catholics still do not understand very well what the Church proposes in its mission and in a spirituality of dialogue. Some think that they need do no more than preach from the rooftops; while others do not feel prepared for a theological discussion with men and women of other religions.

Dialogue is not only the task of experts and professionals. Dialogue means sharing our own life on all levels with people of other religions. This is the aim of the teaching of the Church when it states the four well known levels of dialogue:

- sharing of life at the level of being with others on a common path,

- sharing at the level of working with others in the dialogue of action and of solidarity for the commmon good,

- sharing with others ideas and convinctions, studying and discussing problems, including theological ones, together,

- sharing with others the experience of God, as far as possible, in dialogue on religious and spiritual commitments.

On each of these levels, as Pope John Paul II said in Redemptoris Missio (57), dialogue is the duty and responsibility of every Christian and every Christian community. As an expression of the new commandment, this dialogue requires an integral approach and cannot remain at the level of polite words, ambiguous language or meetings which instead of being real encounters are just media events.

The Instrumentum Laboris underlines the responsibility of the bishop in teaching by words and example the real meaning of dialogue. Through pastoral letters and public statements taking into account interreligious dialogue, the bishop teaches the faithful of his diocese the meaning and the practice of dialogue, its motivations, its possibilities and its conditions. The bishop teaches by willingness to meet persons of other religions and to discuss with them; by the desire to make joint statements on major topics; by the desire to work together for peace and reconciliation, always ready - according to the Spirit of the Lord - to take the first step. The bishop also teaches by setting up in the diocese an efficient commission for dialogue, with significant acts of greeting in the festivities of the other religions and willingly receiving their visits during Christian celebration, and finally by ensuring an adequate preparation aso that the members of different religions may live together in seminaries, faculties and houses for the formation of the consecrated life. The Holy Father has now opened so many doors that have been closed for centuries.

The way of acting of Our Lord is a modello for dialogue. His dialogue with the Samaritan and the discovery of the faith by a Roman soldier are just tow examples of the Word of God which proposes rather and does not impose the good news. The kenotic dimension of the Lord draws special significance for a spirituality of dialogue. Without renouncing His own identity, the Lord took on human shape and semblance out of love. Pope John Paul II indicates the kenotic hymn in the letter to the Philippians as being the essential characteristic of missionary spirituality (Redemptoris Missio 88) of which interreligious dialogue is a dimension.

The bishop is called upon to teach this love, humble and often humiliating, which nurtures dialogue, repeating - especially in circumstances of violence and polarization - the truth of the Gosepl, proclaiming that the Lord loves everyone without exception; that we cannot resort to violence in the name of a Christ who loves, and that it is the sincere love for others in the Spirit that must characterize Christians in participating in dialogue which bears witness to Christian love.

[00144-02.03] [in119] [Original text: Italian]

H. Em. Card. Friedrich WETTER, Archbishop of Munich and Freising (Germany)

The Church never proposed its own binding teaching about the office an the service of the Bishop as it did in such a clear and complete way in Vatican Council II. The Magisterium on the office of the Bishop is placed in a Trinitarian vision. Actually, it develops in the apostles’ incorporation in Christ’s mandate, received from the Father. Jesus’ Word: "As the Father sent me, so am I sending you... Receive the Holy Spirit" (Jn 20:21-22), and in a certain way this is the announcement of the creation of the episcopate. The fullness of the Sacrament of the Order has been conferred on the Bishop. According to the insuperable interpretation by Saint Ignatius of Antioch, priests and deacons take part in this office and practice their service in communio with the Bishop.

The college of the apostles continues in the Episcopal College, from the standpoint of ecclesiology. Therefore, just like the office of the apostles, from the moment of its creation by Jesus Christ, it has been understood as the collegial union with Peter and under his guidance. Therefore, the Episcopal College of the Church must be understood as being in union with the Successor of the Apostle Peter and under his guidance.

The Christological and pneumatological dimensions of this episcopal office must be emphasized today in particular. In fact, today currents exist that try to diminish the spiritual office of the Church to a merely organizational function. To combat this ecclesiological relativism, we must be firmly anchored to the sacramental aspect of the episcopal office, which is also valid for the priesthood and the diaconate. To more effectively correspond to this magisterium of collegiality, I would like to reflect on the following:

1. During the first centuries for the Ordination of a Bishop, the vote of the bishops of the ecclesiastic province was decisive, as an expression of episcopal collegiality. Unfortunately, according to the practice today, these are not longer taken into consideration. Without a doubt, their vote has greater ecclesiological worth than that of the capital of the Dome, used in certain nations. For this reason I wish to propose: before the Apostolic Nuncio sends the Terna to Rome, it should have the Council of Bishops of the ecclesial province meet and send its decisions to the Apostolic See together with the vote. Thus, the Holy Father’s choice will remain undisturbed.

2. The Synod’s work should be more concise. Therefore, I propose that a concrete number of problems be dealt with, which are important for the entire Church and which are still waiting to be clarified.

3. As pertains to collegiality, even in the local Churches the intimate unity of the apostolic office must be theologically studied more deeply in an analogous way and must be effective on the spirituality of the priests and deacons. This way, the dangerous individualistic diminishment of the understanding of the spiritual mandate may be avoided.

[00145-02.03] [in120] [Original text: German]

H.E. Most Rev. Eusébio Oscar SCHEID, S.C.I., Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, (Brazil).

The evangelizing mission of the Bishop, Servant of the Gospel of Hope in the world, is defined as the "Sacrament of the Goodness of God". Sacrament understood here in the analogical sense, like a concrete sign that transforms persons and human relations.

We do not have the presumption of remaining on the level of ideas, but going into the realities of life, drawing in a particular way from the priests and the youths, lacking in this goodness.

We start from a very general analysis of the Goodness of the Holy Scriptures, especially the New Testament, when the "kindness and love of God our Saviour" (cf. Tt 3:4) and is manifested in the focal points of the history of salvation. The first apostles were fascinated by the Jesus’ gestures of goodness towards them, towards the sick, children, the abandoned in general.

Our dear priests, more than anyone else, feeling the pressing need to find in us that witness of goodness that involves and stimulates them to face the great challenges of today.

Youths, it would seem, (a majority of them) have not let themselves be drawn by the theanthropic values of the Gospel.

The most open path is directed towards goodness as welcome, comprehension and empathy. Goodness will be for them (as for many others) an efficacious sign to conquer them for the noble causes of today’s society, like "night watchmen" who announce the dawning of a new world.

[00146-02.02] [in121] [Original text: Italian]

H.E. Most Rev. Aleksander KASZKIEWICZ, Bishop of Grodno (Belarus)

Today Belorus is on the path looking for its future. On the political level, it would like to find this in its ties with Russia. With regards to the West, it tries to emphasize the differences, to the point of underlining its own presumed superiority.

On the cultural and spiritual level, the reality in Belorus is much more complex. History demonstrates the rich heredity enriched by Christianity. The riches are the compendium of Catholicism and Orthodoxy. In the past, the supremacy of one of the two traditions depended upon the political appurtenance of the territories. Also, it remained in relation to its own dynamism. During the Communist period, Christian values were saved thanks to the witnesses of the Gospel known by name, and those unknown heroes who in trials remained faithful to Christ.

The Catholic Church works in relative freedom. We have placed reconstruction of our own presbyterium at the first place. The, we proceed towards the organization of parishes for the re-evangelization of the society of believers.

The other field of activity of the Church is bringing the Gospel to the majority of society, which has not lost its spiritual sensitivity, despite atheistic propaganda.

The problem weighing upon the situation is the pressing activities of the sects. The success they achieve is the result of promptness of action and how they present themselves.

Catholicism and Orthodoxy work in the same field. This is the ecumenical fact.

The Bishop, with his presbyterium, is sent in part of the Church and to the human family. His duty is to know and enlarge its horizons through the proclamation of the Word, with the Person of Jesus Christ, God-Man, the Sole Savior of the world - at its core.

This is where the Bishop’s duty is drawn: being the custodian, the interpreter, and to proclaim the Gospel and Tradition. He, together with his Church crosses the threshold of hope, because he shares the destiny of life, conscious of holding the word of salvation.

[00085-02.03] [in064] [Original text: Italian]

H.E. Most Rev. Justo MULLOR GARCÍA, Titular Archbishop of Bolsena (Italy), Apostolic Nuncio, President of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (Vatican City).

The speaker began citing three sentences of the speech given by the Holy Father at the Ecclesiastical Pontifical Academy on the occasion of his 30th year in office: "We are here above all to provide for our sanctification: Required by your future service to the Church and the Pope; what you learn here is oriented to present the Word of God to the ends of the earth; you will not be promoters- nor can you ever be that- for some "reasons of state." He commented with regard to this matter: "His actual ties and His future ties are thankful, Holiness, of these lines of thought and of action."

Then revealing to the Synod Fathers, he demonstrated in profound agreement with such pontifical statements in the theme of the Synod. The hope of the world, he commented, also when this refers to the secularized part of the world, is in our personal holiness. And that which is independently from the head occupied post or at the service of a diocese, of a Dicastery of the Roman Curia or a Pontifical Representation.

The Task of the priests is not only that of speaking as teachers. As disciples of Christ, from Bishops, must emerge gestures which speak. Authenticity is the price to be paid so that men who watch it today on the outside, see the face of Christ in the Church and in its Hierarchy.

The cited words addressed by John Paul II to the future diplomats of the Holy See delineates three ecclesial attributes in depth- the personal one, the pastoral one and the third one being socio-political-- valid for all christians, to start from the Bishops.

Being in charge of the formation of the future pontifical diplomats, the speaker treated the criterion and the norms that actually regulate their formation. Lastly he invited the Bishops, not only to respond affirmatively to any invites to send their priests to the Pontifical Ecclesiastic Academy or to the Roman Curia, but also to take the initiative, for example in the occasion of the visitae ad limina, to propose work as collaborators of the Peterian ministry.

[00073-02.04] [ino52] [Original text: Italian]

H. Em. Card. François Xavier NGUYÊN VAN THUÂN, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Overall today, in a foreboding context of serious dangers, the Catholic Church must be that sacrament that God wanted to operate for the unity and the fraternity of human beings, in justice and in peace. Before diversity, any diversity, there is, in fact, an original vocation of humanity in unity, to be and to become like a family united in solidarity and peace. The precious good of the unity of human beings is the arduous task and the arduous good to which the Church is committed.

The new world scene requires from us Bishops a visible spiritual and pastoral enlargement on how and what the Church can do in terms of proclamation and presence. I think it is urgent for everyone to agree with the precious spiritual and pastoral orientations of the Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, one of the most stimulating fruits of the experience of the Great Jubilee. I refer above all to the precious indication of the greater holiness of live which also involves greater commitment and witness of works of charity and solidarity. Above all in these areas in which there is a strong tendency to take ways that have no outlet, the Church must increasingly underline how without a return to the Gospel there can be no solution to the dramatic problems connected with the defense and promotion of human rights, the resolution of the numerous and bloody conflicts and the urgent need to give concrete answers to the poverty of billions of human beings.

Socially oriented evangelization, which has its basic instrument in the social doctrine of the Church, needs a more timely consideration taking into due account the developments in cultural, economic and political matters, on the national and international must increasingly reflect in order to effectively update its message of justice and peace. In this regard it is more opportune than ever to intensify the reference and connection of the social Magisterium of the Bishops with the universal Magisterium of the Holy Father, in order to achieve a coherent teaching, unified in its foundations and inspiring principles. At a time marked by so much spiritual and cultural bewilderment, the diffusion of the social doctrine of the Church, with its illuminating teaching on the dignity of the human person, the value of the community, the duty to pursue justice and peace, is one of the most significant opportunities for making a substantial contribution to the renewal of today’s economic and political culture, as well as providing more a solid basis for enhancing ecumenical, interreligious and intercultural dialogue and for increasing the trust and hope in which everyone expresses his humanity. The future of the human community, of all the communities, especially now, depends on the growth in the humanity of the persons composing them.

[00095-02.02] [ino72] [Original text: Italian]

H.Em. Card. Frédéric ETSOU-NZABI-BAMUNGWABI, C.I.C.M., Archbishop of Kinshasa, President of the Episcopal Conference (Democratic Republic of the Congo)

The National Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo read the Instrumentum Laboris with great interest. And, we would like to synthesize two points of the thinking of the bishops of the Congo for this new millennium of grace and hope.

The African Bishop Today

Living in the midst of his people, the African Bishop shares the joys and sufferings, hopes and anguish. He plays an important role in the construction of a civilization of love and the Kingdom of God in Africa. Whether dealing with problems of family, environment, health, teaching, salaries, mass media or politics, the African Bishop has something to say and action to take. He is the voice for those without a voice, to make truth, justice, respect for the person and his unalienable rights reign, like a Good Shepherd who gives his life for his flock.

In the perspective of the incarnation of Christ’s message in African realities, the unity of faith in Jesus Christ being saved, the African Bishops must elaborate their own catechetical and theological language, corresponding better to the mentality of their peoples (cf. Ad Gentes, 22). Called to being the promoter of inculturation of faith, the Bishop must encourage the theologians who, with their reflections and research, elaborate an authentic African theology.

As for the remainder, one hopes that the various offices of the Roman Dicasteries manifest greater attention to the distribution of subsidies, seeing as we often lack material means to creating the basic infrastructures for the deeper evangelization of the African individual.

Promoting Episcopal Collegiality

We truly hope that the Holy See fully trust in the national and regional Episcopal Conferences, being the privileged place for the practice of the collegiality and the spirit of communion of the universal Church and between the particular Churches. And above all, in the resolution of pastoral problems, the organization or management of dioceses and seminaries; in the choice, nomination and transferal of Bishops. Because, living in their communities and sharing regularly their pastoral worries, the opinions of the bishops of a national or regional conference should be received with greater attention by the nunciatures and the Roman Dicasteries. To trust and listen to the bishops is a necessity for collegiality.

We hope that relations between the apostolic nunciatures and the Roman Dicasteries and the diocesan bishops may be characterized by a more fraternal collaboration and by a true pastoral solicitude, maintaining the respect of competencies. May the nuncio be in the midst of the diocesan bishops like a brother who shares, in faith, their pastoral worries with them, searching together for new paths for the mission in the Church-Family of God.

We also hope that the different national and regional episcopal conferences may draw up and submit to the Secretary of State the "profile of the apostolic nuncio", to be accredited in this new millennium in whichever geographical and cultural site. This is a necessity of communion and collegiality between the particular churches and the various Dicasteries of the Holy See.

[00109-02.03] [in086] [Original text: French]

H.E. Most Rev. Orlando B. QUEVEDO, O.M.I., Archbishop of Cotabato, President of the Episcopal Conference (Philippines)

On the Bishop's spirituality and pastoral charity, Instrumentum Laboris numbers 44-46, 117-19. At the opening Mass of the Synod the Holy Father reminded us that poverty is an essential trait of Jesus "and represents one of the indispensable requirements" for the Gospel to be heard and welcomed. The Holy Father's statement suggests how we Bishops should respond to the global reality of massive poverty, the scandalous gap between rich and poor, and the many new faces of poverty in the world that wrestle with the problem of survival and the despair of living. In Jesus, God has visited the poor and made himself poor so that by his poverty we might become rich (2 Cor. 8:9). Jesus proclaimed the Good News to them (cf. Lk. 4: 18; Is. 61.1 ). He called them to be his disciples. They were his friends. He lived with them. He called them "blessed" for theirs was God's Kingdom (Lk. 6:20). In the least of his brothers and sisters, he imprinted his special divine presence (cf. Mt. 25:40, 45). Jesus was Spes Pauperum. To image the poor Jesus today, we Bishops must also be with the poor to present Jesus as their hope. We have to become their moral voice, defending their rights and denouncing social injustices. We need to share their anguish, reflect, pray, and act with them. We must not allow class distinctions in the Sacraments. Above all we need to be poor. This requires profound conversion of heart so that we may have the mind set and the values of the poor Christ, his simplicity and austerity, his total freedom from riches, his love of preference for the poor, his not ambitioning for honors; his complete trust in God his Father. These are basic elements of a Spirituality of Poverty. As a Bishop I can only be poor if I follow the pattern of the Incarnation. With God's grace, through imrnersion in the lives of the poor, I take on the condition of the poor. I become poor in spirit and in fact. My own evangelical poverty would be an eloquent sign to the poor of God's love of preference for them. Even then, at the end of everyday the Spirit of God will surely stir my heart with questions: "Am I truly a Shepherd and Servant of the Poor? Are they my friends with whom I spend quality time? By my life and ministry, am I truly the sign of Christ who is the Spes Pauperum?

[00147-02.03] [in122] [Original text: English]

H.E. Most Rev. Oscar Mario BROWN JIMÉNEZ, Bishop of Santiago de Veraguas (Panama)

My intervention is based on Nos. 139-143 of the IL. In the quoted text we are invited to contemplate the figure of the Bishop as the minister of the Gospel, who because of his faith in the Gospel must illuminate the new social problems and new types of poverty that weigh upon our epoch.

The Church does not have the pretence of solving the difficult economic and social problems of our times, but cannot renounce the proclamation of the Gospel, from which it derives the fundamental principles for building a fair social and economic system.

Among these problems we must cite the growing gap between rich and poor; the wars for ethnic, religious or socio-political reasons; terrorism and institutionalized violence. To this we should add: genetic manipulation, abortion, arms and drug trafficking.

In the midst of these problems, we Christians must look to our hope in building a world of peace, in which God reigns as Father and Sovereign, men acknowledge one another as brothers and human rights, which are universal and indivisible, are respected.

[00149-02.04] [in123] [Original text: Spanish]

H. Em. Card. Ivan DIAS, Archbishop of Bombay (India).

"For you I am a Bishop, with, you I am a Christian". With this phrase St. Augustine indicates how the ministerial priesthood and the common priesthood of all the baptized faithful should interact in a bishop, By virtue of his calling a bishop is a successor of the Apostles, enters into the College of Bishops and is entrusted with the task of teaching, sanctifying and governing God's holy people. Somehow today, bishops seem to be identified only with the institutional dimension of the Church, while the bishopric is also a charism, St. Paul, in fact, puts the "apostles" in the first place on the list of charisms (1 Cor 12:28,. Eph 4: 11) In a bishop therefore institution and charism should merge harmoniously and must help him to co-ordinate the charisms of those entrusted to his pastoral care for they are special gifts of the 'Holy Spirit given freely to members of his flock (be they priests, religious or laity) and are not to be ignored or despised, but rather to be used with order and decorum for the building up of God's kingdom on earth is important to underline the value of the charism of the laity in the enormous challenge the Church is facing in the field of the new world evangelization, The Third Christian Millennium has heralded in the hour of the laity. Even if, since the first days of Christianity there have been many saints and evangelizers among lay individuals, among kings and queens, married persons, widows and widowers among people young and old, among soldiers, physicians, scholars and statesmen) today the "fullness of time" for the laity has dawned. The Holy Spirit has quickened to maturity the apostolate of the laity, inspiring many lay witnesses and causing many lay associations, ecclesial movements and communities to be launched as indispensable co-workers of the bishops priests and religious) in a renewed Pentecostal thrust to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ. We have entered an age when, once again, institution and charism must blend together in harmony: bishops, priests) religious and laity must work hand in hand according to each one’s specific charism to spread the kingdom of God. Pope John Paul II calls in a spirituality of communion in his Apostolic Letter Novo Millennio Ineunte No. 45). The bishops must therefore consider the laity as co-partners in the mission of evangelization as useful agents of ~ ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue, Even through the laity - as through his clergy and religious - a bishop can learn what the Spirit is saying to his Church. Bishops must take particular care of the on-going formation of the laity, so that they can truly be the salt of the earth and the light of the World, always ready to "give an account of the hope which i8 in them" (1 Pt 3:15). Laymen and women must. be trained to be apologists, not apologisers viz. persons who are defenders, not defensive, of their faith who know well the tenets of the Christian doctrine all the ethos of their Catholic identity. Besides the three icons presented in the Instrumentum Laboris to illustrate the image of the bishop as a servant-leader viz. the Good Shepherd, the Fisher of men and Jesus washing the feet of His apostles, there is yet another icon which expresses it meaningfully: viz. Jesus going up to Jerusalem on a donkey’s back, Like that donkey - which symbolizes humility docility and service -a bishop must lift Jesus high in his life as He (Jesus) leads His joyful people towards the heavenly Jerusalem.

[00150-02.03] [in124] [Original text: English]

H.E. Most Rev. Ignacio GOGORZA IZAGUIRRE, S.C.I., Bishop of Ciudad del Este (Paraguay)

Importance of the witness of life

The bishops identify with the general contents of the Instrumentum laboris. They present some of these characteristics:

1. Holiness of the bishop

The example of the Good Shepherd invites us to try to live in charity as a sign of communion. This communion is nurtured by the frequent participation in different encounters and events. We nevertheless are subjected to limitations. The Word of God strengthens and illuminates us in our ministry as prophets and of proclaimers of the message of salvation.

The people, in general, expect and request these messages.

There is also a closeness to the religious. Every two years we hold a meeting between the bishops and superiors major.

2. Promoters of justice and peace

Contemplating in our diocesan communities the sorrowful faces of those who suffer because of injustice and lack of interest for the common good in various sectors of society, we try to become promoters and defenders of justice in favor of the needy.

We also try to be builders of peace, forming a bridge of communication between the different sectors of society.

3. Minister of hope

We approach all with simplicity to share their joys and sorrows, together with their story. We are often the last hope in the face of so much abuse and deception to which people are constantly subjected.

4. Some particular problems

We undergo trials because of our limitations, our lack of understanding of the mission.

In many Christians there is a dichotomy between faith and life.

There is a desire for the greater presence of the episcopacy in these moments of political crisis. Some agricutural organizations criticize the Church because it does not always accompany them in their struggles.

A shortage of concrete relationships with the religious has also been observed.

5. Proposals

Need for the permanent formation of bishops.

Opening diocesan libraries for the bishops and priests.

[00151-02.02] [in125] [Original text: Spanish]

H. Em. Card. Jānis PUJATS, Archbishop of Riga, President of the Episcopal Conference (Estonia)

This Synod’s Instrumentum Laboris is a well-prepared Vademecum for the Bishops. But in today’s real situation, what is more necessary and essential than the salvation of souls? In the Holy Scriptures we read that Nabuchadonosor had a vision, a statue whose head was gold, the chest silver, the abdomen iron and mud feet. And because the feet were weak, the entire statue fell into ruin. As the story witnesses, not only the statue of King Nabuchadonosor went into ruin, but also other provinces of the Church. Danger is present when the people live in sin.

Someone very aptly said: "The Church walks on the feet of her parishes". Those responsible for the salvation of the people are the shepherds. Therefore, pastoral work must be organized correctly. If the priests do not listen to the confessions of the faithful and if the people go to Communion without the Sacrament of Penance, the order is upset. This is today’s statue of the King of Babylon!

What a precious gift Christ gave to His Church: "Embrace the Holy Spirit: for who remits sins, his sins will be remitted..." (cf. St. Augustine, Ser. 99). This gift (or talent) is not our personal property, but we have been given to remit the sins of the faithful. In fact, this is necessary for their salvation. From the Gospel we know that whoever hid his patron’s talent was dealt with like an unworthy servant.

The Lord gave seven Sacraments as precious talents for the salvation of the people. The people know the faith of the Church especially through what they see and hear in liturgical life: how the temple priests serve God through the people. They serve Him with piety, faith and love. In particular, in what way the priests act towards the Most Holy Eucharist.

The discipline of the Sacred Liturgy must be returned, therefore, to its pristine splendor.

[00152-02.02] [in126] [Original text: Latin]



The Tenth General Congregation will take place tomorrow morning October 6th 2001, for the Audition of the Auditors I, the first Audition of the interventions by the Auditors in the Hall on the Synod theme.


The fifth briefing for the Language Groups will take place tomorrow Saturday October 6th 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 sixth information pool for the Synod Hall will be formed for the opening prayer of the Eleventh General Congregation of Monday morning, October 8th 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. 13, regarding the work of the Tenth General Congregation of the X Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops of tomorrow morning, Saturday October 6th 2001, will be available for the accredited journalists at the conclusion of the Congregation.



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