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Monday, November 22, 2010


VATICAN CITY, 20 NOV 2010 (VIS) - The afternoon session of the day of prayer and reflection - a gathering of the College of Cardinals presided by the Pope for the occasion of the ordinary public consistory - began at 5 p.m. yesterday with the celebration of Vespers. The meeting then continued with the presentation of three reports.

  Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, spoke on "The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's Instruction 'Dominus Iesus' ten years after its publication". He noted that the document had served to clarify certain fundamental Christological and ecclesiological truths, and to relaunch ecumenical and inter-religious dialogue on the basis of a precisely defined Catholic identity. At the same time it did not close the lines for research into the great question of the salvation of non-Christians, as indicated by Vatican Council II. "Dominus Iesus", by warning against a poorly-understood pluralism, remains a valid call to doctrinal and pastoral clarity, as a foundation for catechesis, new evangelisation and the "mission ad gentes".

  Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, then delivered two contributions, dealing with "The Church's Response to Cases of Sexual Abuse: towards shared guidelines", and "The Apostolic Constitution 'Anglicanorum coetibus'". In the first of these, the cardinal outlined recent aggiornamenti to canonical legislation regarding the crime of sexual abuse of minors, and made certain observations about the broader responsibility of bishops to protect the faithful under their care. In this, he drew inspiration from the Holy Father's words and from his example of listening to and welcoming victims, also dwelling on collaboration with civil authorities, the need for effective commitment to protect children and young people, and the careful selection and formation of future priests and religious. Finally, he reported on preparatory work on a circular letter from his congregation to episcopal conferences concerning guidelines for co-ordinated and effective efforts in this field".

  In his second report Cardinal Levada explained the nature and origins of the Apostolic Constitution on the institution of an Ordinariate for Anglican faithful who wish to enter "corporately" into full communion with the Catholic Church. He explained the ecumenical context and the current situation concerning the constitution of Ordinariates, the first of which will be established in Great Britain as announced today in a statement from the Episcopal Conference of England and Wales.

  A period of discussion then followed in which twelve cardinals arose to express their views. Some of them referred to questions considered during the morning session (religious freedom and the liturgy), exploring them more deeply, while others focused particularly on the question of the Church's response to cases of sexual abuse. The suggestion was made, among others, to encourage episcopal conferences to develop effective and incisive plans for the defence of minors, taking account of the multiple aspects of the problem and the necessary methods of intervention, in order to re-establish justice and assist victims, and to help in prevention and formation even in countries where the problem has not arisen as dramatically as in others.

  During the course of the debate, the decision was also taken to express the solidarity of the College of Cardinals - united with the Holy Father - to the people of Iraq and Haiti, and to begin a concrete initiative of gathering charitable donations to be sent via "Cor Unum".
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