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Monday, November 15, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 15 NOV 2010 (VIS) - At midday today Benedict XVI received prelates from the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (Region centre west), who have just completed their "ad limina" visit. This was the last in a series of meetings with Brazilian bishops which began more than a year ago.

  The Pope remarked upon the coincidence between the date of his meeting with the first group of prelates from Brazil (which coincided with the country's Independence Day) and his meeting today with the last (coinciding with Republic Day). In this context he highlighted once again "the importance of the Church's evangelising work in the construction of Brazilian identity".

  For nearly sixty years the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil "has been a landmark for Brazilian society, where it increasingly and especially presents itself as a place in which to live the experience of charity", said the Holy Father. "Your episcopal conference, like all others, came into being as a concrete expression of the collegial affection of bishops in hierarchical communion with Peter's Successor, in order to be an instrument of effective and affective communion between all its members and of efficient collaboration with the pastor of each particular Church, in his triple function to teach, sanctify and govern the sheep of his flock".

  The episcopal conference, he went on, "is one of the forms of organisation which, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, enable the joint and harmonious exercise of certain pastoral functions, for the good of the faithful and of all the citizens of a particular territory. Indeed, ever closer co-operation with their brothers in the ministry helps bishops to accomplish their mandate more effectively, without abdicating their primary responsibility to feed ... the flock of their particular Church".

  Thus the episcopal conference "promotes unity of effort and intention among the bishops, becoming an instrument that enables them to share the fatigue of their labours. Yet it must avoid becoming a parallel reality or substituting the ministry of each individual bishop; in other words, it must not change his relationship with his particular Church and with the college of bishops, nor become the intermediary between the bishop and the See of Peter".

  "When you come together in your meetings, in the faithful exercise of your doctrinal function", said Benedict XVI, "you must study above all the most effective and appropriate means to present the universal Magisterium to the people entrusted to your care. ... You must also consider emerging questions, in order then to guide people's consciences to find adequate solutions to the new problems posed by social and cultural transformations".

  The Pope also noted how some of today's problems "require the joint action of bishops: the promotion and protection of faith and morals, the translation of liturgical books, the promotion and formation of vocations of special consecration, assistance in catechesis, ecumenical commitment, relations with civil authorities, the defence of human life from conception to natural end, the sanctity of the family and of marriage between a man and a woman, the right of parents to educate their children, religious freedom, human rights, peace and social justice".

  Benedict XVI concluded his remarks by remarking that "the counsellors and structures of the episcopal conference exist to serve the bishops, not to replace them. In the final analysis, it is important to ensure that the episcopal conference, in all its offices, works as a single body propelling the pastoral solicitude of bishops, whose principal concern must be the salvations of souls, which is also the fundamental mission of the Church".
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  1. Bishops in Brazil must be united in purpose. The purpose is to help people get to heaven. All an outsider coming to Brazil needs to do is look at the statistics where priest to layman radio is dangerously low, seeing something is missing. 700, 000 Catholics and one deacon. Ridicules.

    I look around and see zero efforts by the Catholic church locally in the state of Rio De Janeiro in regards to lifting the faith up in the poor. Raising one hands as evangelicals do at mass and singing hallelujah is not going to bring Catholics to mass. Either will 1 hour and 15 minute sermons’, where priests tend to look silly.

    Lastly Brazilians need to be educated in their religion! What Brazil needs is 10,000 deacons and 10,000 nuns teaching classes in Catholic parishes modeled on the US Catholic school system of years past.

  2. Thank you Pope Benedict for clarifying.. once and for all........the role of National Bishops Conferences -- delighted Your Holiness made it clear that these 'bodies' are there to 'serve' the Bishops 'not direct them' and herein lies the utter confusion when 'statements'are produced from a central body.. Thank you for keeping the Barque of Peter on the straight Road to Jesus..
    May God give you much health, strength and joy for years to come

    your daughter in Christ



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