Synod Presents Summary of Main Themes on Role of Bishop

VATICAN, Oct 12, 01 ( - The prevailing theme during the first two weeks of deliberation at the Synod of Bishops has been the collegial governance of the Church, according to the official summary of the first individual presentations.

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires, who is acting as relator general for the Synod, presented his summary of the 247 individual addresses to the press in Rome on Friday. (Cardinal Bergoglio is acting as relator general in the absence of Cardinal Edward Egan, who left Rome at the prompting of Pope John Paul II to be in his New York archdiocese during ceremonies on October 11-- one month after the terrorist attack there.)

Cardinal Bergoglio told reporters that he had prepared a 15-page summary of the major themes contained in the addresses by individual bishops, auditors, and experts during the meetings of the general congregation. The next phase of the Synod will involve more intense discussion of these main themes, in working groups arranged according to the participants' native languages.

At the October 12 press conference, several journalists observed that the official summary did not include all of the ideas that had been presented by individual bishops during their addresses to the general assembly. Cardinal Bergoglio replied that a short summary could not include all the ideas contained in 247 talks, and also observed that the Synod develops and refines ideas as time passes, since the bishops "are not prisoners of what they have said."

The working summary of the Synod's work, on the topic of the bishop's role, is divided into four parts; it considers the bishop in his relationship with God, his relationship with the universal Church, his service to a particular diocese, and his relationship to the community at large. The first section emphasizes that a bishop must be "a man of prayer," recognizing that he is "called to be a saint." In regard to the universal Church, the bishop is reminded of his involvement in missionary work, and "the principle of communion" that guides the proper working of the Church hierarchy.

The longest section of the summary is devoted to the bishop's role in his own diocese: as a "teacher of prayer," a comfort to the poor, a leader for priests, an administrator of parishes, and an educator of the laity. This section takes note of a "grave problem" regarding the shortage of priestly vocations.

The final section of the summary involves the bishop's responsibility to promote justice and peace in the world, dialogue with other religious bodies, and hope for all of the people in the world.

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

av Webmaster publisert 15.10.2001, sist endret 15.10.2001 - 10:21