John Lilburne's journal about the meeting of bishops at the Vatican.


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1614 K Sun 7 Oct 2001

There was particularly good singing at St Patrick's Cathedral this morning with a visit from the Choir of St Martin's Cathedral, Mainz, Germany. Nearly all the Mass was in Latin, except for the readings and homily.

From the Mass Sheet I learnt two interesting things: Father Dowling (who I brought the Tribunal Case against) has taken his annual holiday and so will be away for October. Secondly that Archbishop Pell and the retired Archbishop D'Arcy are at the Vatican's meeting. This has made me more interested in what is being discussed there.

I thought this was an interesting comment, from the Vatican Information Service

ARCHBISHOP RAMON OVIDIO PEREZ MORALES OF LOS TEQUES, VENEZUELA. "The laity 'form the numerical majority' of the ecclesial community. Ecclesial and ecclesiological renewal has reinterpreted the layperson as an active and participating protagonist of the prophetic, priestly and regal people. ... The 'new evangelization' is currently being enriched and stimulated thanks to the ministries conferred upon the laypeople, both men and women. This collaboration of the laity with the ordained ministry, parallel with other forms of cooperation 'ad intra' of the ecclesial community (services, councils, etc.) in spite of everything cannot dilute or make us forget that which is specific to the laity: their secular character. ... The 'new evangelization', and consequently the evangelization of culture, involves the entire People of God, though not all of its members and sectors in the same way. The task of the layperson, within the family and in the very heart of the secular world, is to turn the Gospel into lifeblood and leaven of the economy, politics and culture. Thus the laity do not need an 'appointment' for their activity of evangelization of culture. Indeed, they need a bishop to accompany them with adequate spirituality, to respect and understand their decisions, to encourage and comfort them in their commitments, to help and direct them in their formation."

It is not clear to me what his message is. That lay ministries of instituted lector and acolyte should be conferred on women as well as men? That there is no need for the instituted ministries? But at least he is close to discussing what I regard as the big issue.

Here is a challenging extract:

ARCHBISHOP HENRY SEBASTIAN D'SOUZA, ARCHBISHOP OF CALCUTTA, INDIA: "The traditions of a dead language, Latin, which are part of a dead foreign culture, Roman, even if seen as a vehicle of orthodoxy, do not respond in a satisfactory way to the character and lifestyle of Indian life and tribal languages. The Indians and tribal populations express themselves with languages which are very picturesque, full of symbolism, poetry and emotion. As a consequence, we neeed a free version, and one in the vernacular idiom, of the original books of the Latin rite, both the missal and the book of rites. There is no doubt that we must pay attention so that the purity of doctrine is preserved and the sacred atmosphere is maintained. ... The Roman Rite is direct, concise and compact, characteristics which are exactly the opposite of the cultures and languages in India. 'Sacrosanctum concilium' wished only to keep the substantial unity of the Roman Rite. There should be space for the cultural dfferences of various peoples and races and for a dynamic creativity within the new Churches. As we answer the call to 'cast out into the deep', we bishops, servants of the Gospel, wish to be signs of hope for our people."

I was impressed by this:

CARDINAL CORMAC MURPHY-O'CONNOR, ARCHBISHOP OF WESTMINSTER, PRESIDENT OF THE CONFERENCE OF BISHOPS OF GREAT BRITAIN. "One way to counter this consumerist culture is for the bishop to initiate a plan aiming at the spiritual and pastoral renewal of his people. I propose that the Synod consider such a program, which would have four essential elements: 1. Prayer and liturgy, particularly the Eucharist, and also renewed study of scripture. 2. Community: especially small communities - groups of people meeting to pray, ref1ect on the Word of God and relate it to their daily lives. These can transform a parish. 3. Formation: effective catechesis in what we believe (the Creed), what we celebrate (sacraments), and how we should live (commandments, beatitudes ). 4. Work for justice and peace, to be a voice for the voiceless and to care for people in need. In bringing such a plan about, the bishop is crucial. He alone can call and animate such a venture, and so the formation of Bishops at both international and local level is an integral element."

From the Fifth Congregation:

BISHOP JUAN ABELARDO MATA GUEVARA , S.D.B., OF ESTELI, NICARAGUA. "There cannot be a new world without new men; similarly, there cannot be a new Church without new priests. The Church, as missionary communion, needs reform and renewal in her structure and life, in her being and action."

From the Sixth Congregation:

BISHOP DONALD JAMES REECE OF SAINT JOHN'S-BASSETERRE , ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA. "Might a further devolution of ministries give bishops more opportunity to concentrate on those things that are essentially associated with their three-fold task? One can cite the development of the diaconate as presented to us in the Acts of the Apostles. Philip, ordained to serve at tables, is seen evangelizing most effectively in Samaria and in the case of the Ethiopian eunuch. These modern times with their challenges call for 'new methodology, new expressions, and new fervor' if Christ is to be presented in a convincing manner to a world yearning for genuine hope."

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 6 October 2001.