Church´s Big Challenges Are Outlined

Unity, and Evangelization of Globalized World

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 21, 2001 ( Church unity, and the evangelization of a globalized world, particularly through the media, were among the topics broached during the first sessions of the extraordinary consistory of cardinals.

The 155 cardinals in attendance are meeting behind closed doors in the Vatican´s Synod Auditorium. Texts are read or improvised by the speakers, but not handed out. Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls gave reporters a summary of the first 16 addresses.

Cardinal Eugênio de Araújo Sales, archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, spoke of the need for Church unity. «Fidelity and unity with the Pope are an integral part of the Catholic faith,» he said.

Lebanese Cardinal Nasrallah Pierre Sfeir, patriarch of Antioch of the Maronites, spoke of the difficulty of interreligious dialogue. But he said he believes that there are areas where one can live «normally,» for example, in the promotion of charitable works.

Cardinal William Keeler, archbishop of Baltimore, spoke about the critical importance of the media for evangelization. He quoted the encyclical «Redemptoris Missio» in which John Paul II clarifies that it is not about «using» the mass media but «participating» in the media culture.

Another cardinal, not identified by Navarro-Valls, proposed that the Vatican publish a dictionary to support the new evangelization, along similar lines to the catechetical directory that all dioceses have received.

Globalization was the key issue addressed by two cardinals, and was the background of virtually all the addresses. The cardinals said that, intrinsically, globalization is neither good nor evil, but stressed that it must reflect social solidarity.

Cardinal Francisco Alvarez Martínez, archbishop of Toledo, Spain, said that work was previously one of the great issues of Church social doctrine, but today the «greater challenge» is the family.

Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, proposed the «globalization of holiness.» The objective, he said, is to make all Catholics understand that holiness is the norm for all Christians, and not something extraordinary.

Cardinal Jaime Ortega y Alamino, archbishop of Havana, stressed the role of the hierarchy in presenting holiness as a topic for the Church. «We need a real and audacious pastoral ministry of holiness,» he said.

Navarro-Valls concluded his summary of the addresses by quoting Cardinal Jozef Tomko, former prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples: «Today we do not need a Church of support; we need missionary mobilization.»

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