Second General Congregation

VATICAN CITY, OCT 1, 2001 (VIS) - The Second General Congregation of the 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops was held this evening at 5 p.m. in the Synod Hall in the presence of John Paul II. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re was the president delegate on duty. There were 237 synod fathers present at the meeting, which concluded at 7 p.m. with the recitation of the Angelus.

Following are excerpts from several of the speeches given during this congregation:

BISHOP PAUL YOSHINAO OTSUKA OF KYOTO, JAPAN. "In this century the Church will have much more contact with other religions. In my opinion ... as the Church deals with diverse cultures and traditions, it will proclaim the truth of the Gospel, using new methods with modern people living according to a secular world view. ... In February 2001 ... the Japanese Bishops published a document entitled 'Reverence of Life.' ... The various themes of the book are not written in a manner that insists that the only correct answer and resolution for problems comes from a Catholic point of view. The Church presents a message to the reader and in this message the Church itself is thinking along with the reader as he/she decides and ponders about what is a better way of life, a better society. ... According to the teaching of the Gospel, God's Truth does not impose itself on people. This is what Vatican II, in its Declaration on Religious Liberty, has to say: 'Truth can impose itself on the mind of man only in virtue of its own truth, which wins over the mind with both gentleness and power.' During the Jubilee Year, the Holy Father reminds us of this principle, asking God to forgive the sins of the Church, in which there were sins committed in the service of Truth. Likewise, the International Theological Commission comments in 'Memory and Reconciliation': 'This refers to forms of evangelization that employed improper means to announce the revealed truth, or did not include an evangelical discernment suited to the cultural values of the peoples, or did not respect the consciences of the persons to whom the faith was presented. ... When we exercise our magisterial mandate, we will conscientiously keep this dialogue with people today in mind, and will respect the conscience of those who have heeded the call of the Gospel."

ARCHBISHOP JAVIER LOZANO BARRAGAN, EMERITUS OF ZACATECAS, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR HEALTH PASTORAL CARE. "Approximately 146 million persons are infected with the HIV/AIDS virus. The Church, with the bishops leading, has answered this challenge - 25 percent of those dealing with these sick persons in the entire world belong to the Catholic Church. ... The theme of the present Synod insists on the virtue of hope. This virtue is a specific characteristic of the Pastoral Ministry of Health, since health is the tendency towards harmony and the only true harmony is Christ's resurrection. ... This is a radical proclamation of the Gospel as hope for salvation, from suffering, from death. This does not stop at health as the mere absence of diseases ... rather it consists in the joyous and radical physical, psychological, social and spiritual renewal, which represents the harmonious goal of humanity's complete hope expressed in the proclamation of the Gospel: Christ dead and resurrected."

ARCHBISHOP STEPHEN FUMIO HAMAO, PRESIDENT OF THE PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE PASTORAL CARE OF MIGRANTS AND ITINERANT PEOPLES. "We have about 150 million people in the world, and one out of every 47 lives in a migrant or refugee condition. The migrants offer the Church new opportunities to bear witness and proclaim the Gospel at home, and to operate, as an expert in humanity, as a stimulus for civil society in solidarity, in acceptance, and in communion. To improve the welcome of foreigners in the parishes it is indispensable for the bishops to invest in resources for an adequate professional and spiritual formation of priests, religious, and lay people who need to occupy themselves with the problems of the vast phenomenon of human mobility."

ARCHBISHOP PEDRO RUBIANO SAENZ OF BOGOTA, COLOMBIA. "The scourge of guerrilla warfare and drug trafficking has put the Church in Colombia in a permanent situation of conflict, so that for many the ministry has become so difficult that it seems to be impracticable. Evangelization thus implies a vocation for martyrdom and in fact we have a long list of martyrs: a bishop has been murdered by a guerilla group, another has been kidnapped twice, others have been threatened, and priests, religious and pastoral agents have died in terrorist attacks or in crimes that have remained unpunished. There was the case of a mass kidnapping in the middle of the celebration of the Sunday Eucharist; two priests are in the hands of the guerrillas today. In the midst of the reality of conflict, the bishop appears as a sign of hope, reconciliation, and witness of the Gospel in accompanying the people entrusted to him"

ARCHBISHOP RUBEN SALAZAR GOMEZ OF BARRANQUILLA, COLOMBIA. "The Synod of Bishops must heed the Pope's call to rethink the Petrine ministry so that the corresponsibilty of the bishops in governing the Universal Church increasingly becomes a deep sign of communion, and that anything that could tarnish this communion may disappear. The same applies to the relationships between the bishops of a same country in the Episcopal Conferences, in the regions and in the ecclesiastical provinces. It is a matter of attributing the primacy to charity, so that communion prevails over any consideration other than the common good. In each particular church, the bishop must make concrete the reality of communion, promoting structures for communion and participation, in order to listen to the Spirit Who lives in His people, confirming the people in the same Spirit and leading them to achieving what the Spirit has aroused and confirmed in his Church. This is the great challenge that every bishop, as pastor of a part of the People of God, has before him."

CARDINAL JOSE SARAIVA MARTINS, C.M.F., PREFECT OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE CAUSES OF SAINTS. "'Novo Millennio Ineunte' recalls that 'all pastoral initiatives must be set in relation to holiness,' and therefore, 'stressing holiness remains more than ever an urgent pastoral task.' The final objective of the bishop's pastoral activity is, therefore, inciting the faithful to the commitment to answer, promptly and generously, the Lord's calling to Christian perfection. The most credible and persuasive appeal the members of an ecclesial community may receive pertaining to this is, without a doubt, the very witness of personal holiness of their shepherds. ... But for the ministry to be truly effective for sanctity, it must be animated and enlivened by pastoral charity, which is the virtue typical of the bishop, imitating Christ the 'Good' Shepherd."

ARCHBISHOP TADEUSZ KONDRUSIEWICZ, APOSTOLIC ADMINISTRATOR OF NORTHERN EUROPEAN RUSSIA OF THE LATINS, RUSSIAN FEDERATION. "Personal interventions by the participants in the discussion in the Hall should be limited, to extend the working time of the Circuli Minori and to learn from the experience of the Synods of the Eastern Churches, which take concrete decisions, with greater collaboration and trust between the local Churches and the Roman Curia. The sphere of competence of the Episcopal Conferences should be extended, in harmony with the Vatican Dicasteries and the Ministry of Peter. Thanking the Churches of the various countries for the help given to the Catholics of Russia, I believe it would be useful to develop reciprocal contacts with the individual dioceses and parishes. At the same time it would be desirable for many programs organized by the Western Churches in Russia to be achieved with the involvement of the local Catholic Church; otherwise, instead of increasing ecumenical and social relationships, further incomprehension and trouble could occur."

Vatican Information Service
1. oktober 2001

av Webmaster publisert 02.10.2001, sist endret 02.10.2001 - 18:49