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Thursday, October 13, 2005


VATICAN CITY, OCT 13, 2005 (VIS) - This morning, the Synod Fathers met in language groups to discuss the questions raised by the "Relatio post disceptationem," which was presented yesterday afternoon in the Synod Hall by Cardinal Angelo Scola, relator general. The groups are scheduled to meet again today between 4.30 p.m. and 7 p.m., in order to prepare the reports that each group will present tomorrow afternoon during the Seventeenth General Congregation.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 12, 2005 (VIS) - This afternoon in the Vatican's Synod Hall, the Sixteenth General Congregation of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops was held. The "Relatio post disceptationem" ("Report after the Discussion," a summary of the contributions made during earlier congregations) was presented, and speeches were delivered by auditors and Synod Fathers. The president delegate on duty was Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo and 239 Synod Fathers were present.

  The Relatio was presented by Cardinal Angelo Scola, relator general of the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly, who began by recalling the fact that John Paul II wished to dedicate this Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to the theme: "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church." He also recalled the meditation with which Pope Benedict XVI opened the First General Congregation.

  The cardinal affirmed that he had not written "a synthesis, but rather a collage of the interventions, due to the vastness of the themes dealt with and the sensitivities involved." The introduction of the Relatio, he said, shows "the basic orientation that emerged, in a general sense, from the interventions: overcoming any dualism between doctrine and pastoral care, between theology and liturgy."

  The Relatio is divided into two parts. The first part, "Educating the People of God to Faith in the Eucharist," contains five chapters. Chapter one explains how many interventions highlighted the objective difficulties encountered by Christians today in believing and celebrating the Eucharist. The serious responsibility of pastors in evangelization and new evangelization also emerged.

  Chapter two outlines the essential contents of this great mystery, and the main points arising arose from the need to educate believers in an integral Eucharistic faith.

  Chapter three highlights the great importance given, during the discussions, to the bond between the Eucharist and the seven Sacraments.

  Chapter four considers the subject of the Eucharist and the priestly people, the faithful who, gathering together, rediscover their own sense of belonging to the Church. Mention is also made of 'Dies Domini', bishops and priests, permanent deacons and special ministers of Communion, parishes and small communities, family, consecrated life, and youth.

  Finally, Chapter V discusses the theme of the Eucharist and mission: to be missionary the Church must also be deeply Eucharistic.

  The second part, "Eucharistic Action," contains four chapters. In Chapter one, the relator notes how many Fathers gratefully recalled the beneficial influence of the liturgical reform of Vatican Council II on the life of the Church. Chapter two deals with the structure of liturgical celebration, chapter three with the urgent need for greater attention to 'ars celebrandi,' and chapter four with the 'actuosa participatio.'

  In the conclusion, which closes the Relatio and precedes the 17 questions due to be considered by the Working Groups, Cardinal Scola asserts that the "work that now awaits all the Synodal Fathers is the most delicate part, the part from which the propositions will emerge, which we will offer to the discernment of the charism of Peter's Successor."

  Following are excerpts from six speeches delivered this afternoon by auditors, and one by a Synod Father:

LEONARDO CASCO, PRESIDENT OF THE "ALIANZA PARA LA FAMILIA," HONDURAS. "Given that reality tells us that a huge number of Catholics in the world today have no exact knowledge of the doctrinal principles of the faith they profess, living what could be called (to use a fashionable term) 'light' Catholicism, it would appear indispensable, 40 years after the conclusion of the Vatican Council II, to find ... a formula giving the lay faithful basic doctrinal, ethical and moral formation, as well as an awareness of the importance of belonging to the unique Church of Christ and the pride, in a positive sense, of being Catholic. ... I consider it equally necessary that bishops and priests should have no hesitation in joyfully proposing to the lay faithful a life of demanding and robust faith. ... I refer not only to insisting on attendance at Sunday Mass, but also in recommending daily practices of piety, ranging from the offering of works in the morning, to praying the Angelus and the Holy Rosary, to - and why not? - daily Mass whenever possible. On the basis of my personal experience, I can say that when these practices of piety are continually proposed and carried out, without respite and without fatigue, the fruits are harvested almost immediately, leading the lay faithful to live in an atmosphere of faith which improves them as much in their personal as in the supernatural lives. ... My speech here may be summarized as a call to infuse, with renewed enthusiasm, the lay faithful with the committed spirit of the early Christians, that is to say: recourse to prayer and sacrifice, the daily practice of fundamental norms of piety, and insistence on the duties and rights of all those faithful to apostolate."

MARTHA LORENA ALVARADO DE CASCO, PRESIDENT OF THE "COMITE POR LA VIDA," HONDURAS. "As a wife, mother, sister, daughter and grandmother, I feel that, from early childhood, women should receive a formation that prepares them for the development of the two essential sides of their character: femininity and the gift of motherhood. ... Sadly, in recent decades, women have slowly lost the true meaning of their identity and, hence, the real sense of their Christian mission. ... There is much to be done for women; nonetheless, with great respect, I propose the following: As far as possible, separate education for boys and girls should be maintained, in order to create an atmosphere favorable to the formation of girls in the image of the Virgin Mary, model for every woman. Studies have been carried out showing that separate education for boys and girls helps, among other things, the educational process and the development of a healthy affectivity, especially in adolescence. ... Furthermore, separate education facilitates a rise in vocations to religious life and, consequently, in priestly vocations among men. I would also like to place before your attention the possibility of insisting on the creation of youth groups aimed specifically at girls, with the aim of strengthening their feminine condition and their spiritual and doctrinal formation. ... Finally, I think it would be a wonderful experience to promote the adoration by families of Jesus in the Sacrament, in parishes on selected days of the week. I also feel, as has been said in various interventions, that it is important to facilitate confession among the lay faithful, and appropriate to use the confessional booth when one is dealing with women of any age, for many reasons."

BR. MARC HAYET, GENERAL DIRECTOR OF THE LITTLE BROTHERS OF JESUS, FRANCE. "I would like to make a request. Let us pay attention to the way we speak. If we talk about our world mainly in terms of 'culture of death,' is this not a lack of respect to people trying to live their faith in God or their faith in man by giving themselves up for the service of life, from fathers and mothers to people involved in political or social life? This world is also the place of all generosity and all commitment, sometimes at the cost of life. And it is this varied world, and no other, that the Father loves, to which He gave His Son (the Eucharist reminds us of this), and where His Spirit works. ... Men and women today only listen to Word of the Gospel if it is presented as a proposal for their freedom, in a real dialogue where we respect their search (for meaning) and accept their competence and experience of life, including that of the poorest who are rich in humanity. Perhaps the humble sign of bread and wine, accessible to everybody and understandable by everybody, invites us to this dialogue."

SR. RITA BURLEY, A.C.I., SUPERIOR GENERAL OF THE HANDMAIDENS OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS, UNITED KINGDOM. "The Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus ... hold at the heart of their life the celebration of the Eucharist. ... The invitation of Christ 'to do this is memory of me' is lived by prolonging the grace of the celebration in Eucharistic adoration and in apostolic work which communicates the experience of God's redemptive love. ... 'There is no true celebration or adoration of the Eucharist that does not lead to mission.' ... Our desire is to be women and communities of compassion and communion, at the service of true life . ... We do this in many ways depending on local need and culture; the Eucharist is always the pulsating heart of our mission. The people of Bazertete in East Timor live the painful consequences of war. Our Sisters offer the healing presence of Eucharistic adoration, support humanitarian and educational projects and spend themselves listening to the pain and accompanying the people along the arduous road to peace and reconciliation. 'My peace I give you, my peace I leave you.' In the diocese of Yokahama, Japan, in the midst of a strong Buddhist culture, the Sisters give a silent witness to their faith in the presence of the Risen Lord; and in the education they offer in schools and university transmit the gospel values of love, forgiveness and respect. ... Eucharist and work for justice are inseparable. Communion with Christ in the Eucharist implies accepting the moral responsibility to work with Him, in collaboration with others, to transform unjust structures and mentalities into strategies and plans which further the true nature of God's love for our human family. 'God, here I am, I am coming to do Your will'."

ANDREA RICCARDI, FOUNDER OF THE SANT'EGIDIO COMMUNITY, ITALY. "The lives of Christians among people frequently fall into anonymity. Do Christians have something to give others? One can give only that which one has received: the bread of the Word and of the Eucharist. Jesus says to the disciples: 'you give them something to eat.' This is the mission. If good bread is offered, we find that people are hungry for it, that times are less negative than they seem to be. And when faced with great poverty? Today we are lost and forgetful. The poor cannot be deprived of the Gospel. Charity does not last without the nourishment of Eucharist. I have seen this in many ... lives of the poor, lives that make the Church today - in spite of our limits - a source for those in greatest despair. Finally, Christians from the hell of the persecutions of the twentieth century show that it is always possible to live and to communicate the Gospel. In the year 2000, John Paul II made a call to take up the testimony of the new martyrs. I draw attention to the fact that this is an action to be undertaken in the particular Churches and at the heart of the Church. The of the martyrs must be opened in the context of Eucharist. The bond between Eucharist and martyrdom is a source of trust and hope, over and above our realistic or pessimistic reading of situations."

ALEXEI V. JUDIN, PROFESSOR OF CHURCH HISTORY AND OF INTER-FAITH DIALOGUE IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION, RUSSIAN STATE UNIVERSITY FOR THE HUMANITIES, ST. THOMAS COLLEGE, MOSCOW, RUSSIA. "As you know, in Russia we Catholics face in a serious way the problem of dialogue with the Orthodox. ... We Catholics have norms regulating inter-communion with non Catholics. But the shared recognition with the Orthodox of the real presence of the Lord in the Eucharist impels us to move forward on the road of rapprochement. What steps must we take? First of all, without violating the clear rules and diluting Catholic identity, we must think in such a way as to overcome the current ecumenical crisis. In its present form, ecumenism concentrates above all on discussions concerning various historical and theological issues, etc. The dimension of spiritual ecumenism is limited to generic prayers and fraternal encounters at different levels, but it stops before the Eucharist. In effect, all these expressions and events try to evade Eucharistic reality. ... How can we deepen this knowledge in a Eucharist perspective? I have no certain answer, but I can offer a proposal. We have many charisms in the Catholic Church: the charisms of the various orders, religious congregations, and movements, etc. We ensure unity between them, not only on a juridical and administrative level, but also on a spiritual level. ... Therefore, if we are able to organize things in the Catholic environment guaranteeing unity among the different charisms, why can we not approach the Eucharistic Mystery together, in a restored unity between East and West?"

BISHOP JOSEPH ZEN ZE-KIUN S.D.B. OF HONG KONG, CHINA. "The Church in China, apparently divided into two (an official Church recognized by the government and a clandestine one, which refuses to be independent from Rome), is in reality a single Church, because everybody wants to be united with the Pope. After long years of forced separation, the large majority of the bishops of the official Church have been legalized by the magnanimity of the Holy Father. It has become more and more clear, especially in recent years, that bishops ordained without the approval of the Roman Pontiff are accepted neither by the clergy nor by the faithful. One hopes that faced with this 'sensus Ecclesiae,' the government will see the advantage of normalizing the situation, even if 'conservative' elements inside the official Church oppose this for obvious reasons of interest. The invitation by the Holy Father to four bishops to attend the Synod was a good opportunity, but it seems to have been wasted. A well-celebrated Eucharist will certainly accelerate the coming of true religious freedom for the Chinese people."
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 13, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

 - As consultors of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments: Bishop Aloysius M. Sutrisnaatmaka M.S.F., of Palangkaraya, Indonesia; Msgr. Vojtech Nepsinsky, rector of the seminary and president of the diocesan liturgical commission of Banska Bystrica, Slovakia; Frs. Michael Kunzler, professor of liturgy at the faculty of theology at Paderborn, Germany; Jose Raimundo Pinto de Melo S.J., member of the national liturgical commission, Brazil; and Konstantin Morozov O.F.M. Cap., Ukraine.

 - As member of the Pontifical Commission for International Eucharist Congresses, Fr. Jesus Castellano Cervera O.C.D., professor at the Pontifical "Teresianum" Institute of Spirituality, Rome.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 13, 2005 (VIS) - The Holy Father today received in separate audiences eight prelates from the Ethiopian and Eritrean Episcopal Conference, on their "ad limina" visit:

    - Archbishop Berhaneyesus Demerew Souraphiel of Addis Abeba.

    - Bishop Tesfay Medhin of Adigrat.

    - Bishop Musie Ghebreghiorgis, O.F.M. Cap., of Emdeber.

    - Bishop Lorenzo Ceresoli, M.C.C.I., apostolic vicar of Awasa.

    - Bishop Woldetensae Ghebreghiorgis, apostolic vicar of Harar.

    - Bishop Abraham Desta, apostolic vicar of Meki.

    - Bishop Leonardus Dobbelaar, C.M., apostolic vicar of Nekemte.

    - Bishop Domenico Crescentino Marinozzi, O.F.M. Cap., apostolic vicar of Soddo-Hosanna.
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VATICAN CITY, OCT 13, 2005 (VIS) - Late this morning in the Holy See Press Office, the second press conference on the Eleventh Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops was held, following yesterday's presentation in the Synod Hall of the "Relatio post disceptationem" (the document summarizing the main themes that emerged from the Synod Fathers' discussions).

  Participating in the press conference were the three president delegates, Cardinals Francis Arinze, Juan Sandoval Iniguez and Telesphore Placidus Toppo, as well as Archbishop John Patrick Foley, president of the Commission for Information of the Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, and Bishop Sofron Stefan Mudry O.S.B.M., vice-president of the same commission.

  Cardinal Arinze stressed how the Synod had impressed him, above all, with the commitment of all its participants to transmitting the faith, and with the importance given "to 'ars celebrandi,' that the faith upon which the people of God have fed in the church may accompany them when they leave the building, and encourage them to share what they have received with others."

  For his part, Cardinal Sandoval made reference to the depth of faith in the Eucharist. As an example of such faith, he quoted the words of a disabled person who, being unable to speak, before receiving communion wrote on his computer: "The Lord appears to be on the Crucifix, yet He is not there, He appears not to be in the Eucharist, yet He is." All of us, the cardinal said, "share this faith in the real presence of Christ." He then affirmed that one of the central moments of the Synod had been the presence and the words of Benedict XVI on the first day of the assembly, as well as the participation of the Pope "as just another Synod Father" during the free discussions at the end of the afternoon sessions.

  Cardinal Toppo underlined the Synod's capacity to bring together, having gathered people from five continents "united by the same faith." He observed that in his own continent, Asia, where so many religions coexist, the mark of identity for Catholics is unity in the Eucharist under the figure of the Holy Father. He also recalled how the president of the Indian delegation to the funeral of John Paul II, impressed by the involvement and unity of Catholics in the ceremony, had told him: "Today I felt the presence of God."

  Scarce participation at Sunday Mass in Western countries was what most called Archbishop Foley's attention during the Synod meeting, while he identified the most emotional moments as those in which certain Synod Fathers and delegates from Central and Eastern Europe told of the persecutions suffered and sacrifices made under the totalitarian regimes.

  Bishop Mudry concluded, stressing the importance of faith in the Eucharist for both Catholics and Orthodox, and of the teaching of this faith, beginning with the family. He went on to mention the work of priests and the role of the liturgy therein, pointing out that in Eastern churches the "visible signs of sanctity" with the presence of the tabernacle are perhaps more perceptible than in Western churches.

  At the end of the press conference a journalist asked why, given the problem of a shortage of priests in some regions of he world, the solution of priestly ordination of married men was still being put in doubt. Cardinal Toppo replied by saying that "the real problem is a crisis of faith, the lack of priests is a symptom of that crisis." On the same subject, Cardinal Sandoval listed some of the reasons for the shortage of priests: "a lack of faith, secularization, and the closing of the window onto infinity." For his part, the Ukrainian Bishop Mudry indicated that, despite the fact that Eastern Catholic Churches admit married priests, this does not solve the problem because "they also have to dedicate time to their families ... and its is difficult for them to move to another area to continue their mission, if their bishop so requests."

  On the subject of admitting divorced people to Eucharistic communion, Cardinal Arinze indicated how the Church "shows compassion to these people who are suffering, and although they cannot partake of communion - because their position does not reflect the image of unity between Christ and the Church (bridegroom and bride) - they continue to be members of the Church."

  With reference to a call made by some of the Synod Fathers over these days for greater homogeneity of inculturation, Cardinal Toppo stressed how this "is essential, and is the expression of a people's faith." Cardinal Sandoval added: "what is important is that hymns, dance, color, etc., help to encourage interior life, to unite oneself with the Lord, and that the ceremony does not become merely a show for entertainment."
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