Consistory of Cardinals Draws Near

Gantin, Ratzinger and Others to Moderate Sessions

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 18, 2001 ( Next week´s extraordinary consistory of cardinals will begin Monday with a session moderated by Cardinal Bernardin Gantin.

The extraordinary consistory has been convoked in keeping with the functions proper to the College of Cardinals, among which is to advise the Pope in the government of the Church.

The cardinals will meet to examine the challenges facing the Church, in light of the apostolic letter «Novo Millennio Ineunte,» with which the Pontiff closed the Jubilee year 2000. The last consistory took place in 1994, in preparation for the Jubilee.

The cardinals´ meeting will begin Monday at 9 a.m. The Pope will preside over the assembly, and the morning session will be moderated by Cardinal Gantin, dean of the College of Cardinals.

On the first morning, Cardinals Roger Etchegaray and Crescenzio Sepe will present brief accounts of the celebrations and results of the Jubilee year. They were president and secretary, respectively, of the Vatican Committee for the Holy Year.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, will moderate the afternoon session. The topic of the debate will be «Pastoral Perspectives of the Church in the New Millennium.» Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, archbishop of Paris, will give a 15-minute introductory address.

On Tuesday, the cardinals will continue to hear addresses. The morning session will be moderated by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican secretary of state, and the afternoon session by Cardinal Gantin.

On Wednesday morning, the cardinals will divide into small working groups. In the afternoon, each group will present its report, and Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iñíguez will present the final summary.

The consistory ends Thursday, feast of the Ascension. At 10:30 a.m. there will be a solemn Mass at St. Peter´s Basilica, presided over by the Holy Father. At 1:30 p.m. the cardinals will conclude their meeting with a luncheon at Saint Martha´s House.

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