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Monday, October 24, 2005


VATICAN CITY, OCT 22, 2005 (VIS) - At 12.15 p.m. today, a press conference was held in the Holy See Press Office for the conclusion of the work of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which has been considering the theme: "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church."

 Participating in the press conference were Cardinals George Pell, archbishop of Sydney Australia, and Marc Ouellet P.S.S., archbishop of Quebec, Canada, Archbishop Roland Minnerath of Dijon, France, and Bishop Salvatore Fisichella, rector of the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome.

  Cardinal Ouellet emphasized the climate of fraternity and unity in the faith that had characterized the Synod, despite the diversity of cultures; and specified how the final message of the synodal assembly was based not on propositions or comments, but on the Eucharist as the fulcrum of Church life and activity. He then went on to recall how the text of the message insists on the Eucharist as being the mission of the People of God and reaffirmed the responsibility of Christians who, like the Synod Fathers, "must echo the suffering of the world," and participate actively in such important fields as the economy, education and the communications media.

  For his part, Bishop Fisichella observed how the Synod began and ended with a message of peace, hope and encouragement. "This message," he said, "deals with a number of shadows, which we have not sought to ignore, but it also has great prophetic import, because despite the problems, there is also much light: the increase in priestly vocations, and the growing awareness among families of their social role."

  Archbishop Minnerath revealed one of the novelties of the Synod: the Pope has ordered that the propositions of the Synod Fathers, in their Italian version, be made public. The archbishop also underlined the atmosphere of openness and communication that had marked the assembly, "without taking anything away from the traditional procedure."

  Once the prelates had finished speaking, the journalists present were given the opportunity to request clarification on some of the subjects, among them the vote on the message.

  "No vote was taken on the message," explained Archbishop Minnerath, "because the regulations of the Synod do not make voting obligatory, rather they speak of approval, which both in yesterday's congregation and today's was expressed with a great ovation."

  Replying to a question on the freedom given by the synodal assembly to diocesan bishops to administer communion to politicians and legislators who sometimes create laws at variance with Church teaching, Cardinal Ouellet said: "the Synod does not wish to isolate any category of individuals. Of course, all Christians are responsible for their own behavior, but lawmakers have a more impelling collective responsibility and a greater duty to be consistent. Thus diocesan bishops, with wisdom and firmness, will consider each case as it arises."

  Attention was also given to the subject of divorced and re-married Catholics, who cannot receive communion. "For them we have a specific and particularly sensitive form of pastoral care," the prelates explained, "which makes it clear that, although they cannot take communion, they are not excluded from the Church."
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