Non-Catholic Delegates Address Synod of Bishops

VATICAN, Oct 11, 01 ( - The Synod of Bishops continued its deliberations on Thursday, hearing interventions from individual bishops, from "fraternal delegates" representing other Christian bodies, and from "auditors" offering the perspective of the laity.

The remarks of the fraternal delegates helped to focus attention on the question of ecumenism, especially as it applies to the work of bishops. The Orthodox Metropolitan Ambrosius of Finland, who is acting as a representative of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, confessed: "As an Orthodox bishop I neither dare nor wish to touch the question of the relationship between primacy and collegiality, which has been raised here by several of you." He observed that the issue of relations among bishops remains a difficult one for the Eastern churches as well, and "we in our Orthodox context today face many difficult and unsolved problems concerning inter-Orthodox cooperation."

The Anglican Bishop Peter Forster of Chester, England, offered a more promising thought. "Anglicans have come to accept the wisdom and need of a universal primacy, exercised by the Bishop of Rome," he said. He admitted that the exercise of that primacy would still be a delicate matter, causing some disagreements among Anglicans.

Adding the perspective of Eastern Catholics, Patriarch Ignace Moussa I Daoud, the prefect of the Congregation for the Eastern Churches, observed that in the Eastern tradition, synods have always played an important decision-making role. "The Synod of Bishops of the Eastern patriarchates, with extended jurisdictions, is understood as a way of practicing the collegiality of the bishops, sanctioned since the first ecumenical councils," he said.

The interventions by individual bishops did not always focus on questions of authority and administration, however. Archbishop Roberto Gonzalez of San Juan, Puerto Rico, told the assembly: "I agree with what Cardinal Ratzinger said. We need more spirit and less organization."

Among the auditors who addressed the Synod assembly, the most noteworthy statement came from Father Arnaud Devillers, the American superior general of the Fraternity of Priests of St. Peter. Urging the bishops to be generous in providing for the Catholics who prefer the traditional Tridentine-rite Mass, he said: "Wherever the local bishop supports and encourages this work, the results are truly amazing."

Catholic World News Service - Daily News Briefs
11. oktober 2001

av Webmaster publisert 12.10.2001, sist endret 12.10.2001 - 09:52