Consistory´s Most Frequently Mentioned Topic

Holiness, Says Cardinal Tonini

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2001 ( On Day 3 of the extraordinary consistory, John Paul II listened as Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iñíguez presented a summary of the proposals made earlier by his brother cardinals, in their working groups.

To get a sense of how the consistory developed, ZENIT interviewed Italian Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, 86, archbishop emeritus of Ravenna. He was made a cardinal in 1994, in recognition of his work as a communicator in the press, radio and television.

–Q: Eminence, what have you all accomplished over these days?

–Cardinal Tonini: It is as though the Church has removed her veil and shown her real face: a community that reflects exhaustion, hope, courage, zeal — all stemming from Christ.

The topic that was most frequently mentioned was holiness, that is, we have returned to the cave in Bethlehem, to the cenacle, the cross, and the resurrection of Christ the Lord, to the strength of the sacraments — Christ living in our midst, who inspires us with his Spirit and helps us look at what will happen, so that this generation will know that it is living in the most extraordinary moment of the history of the world, because now there is truly a return to the beginning.

For example, the great challenge facing the world today is the following: Will we be able to live together, to live together in a human way?

–Q: How will the third millennium Church be; how was this perceived by this consistory?

–Cardinal Tonini: One of the most frequently mentioned topics was ecumenism: a Church that goes out in search of unity. More than that: It is about people feeling that the love of the Creator is in Christians.

–Q: A Church that has a logic which is different from that of the world.

–Cardinal Tonini: Certainly, because it is a Church that looks at each thing from its source.

–Q: A Church that is a real witness; a Church of the poor, it was said.

–Cardinal Tonini: A Church that is poor because it is filled with God. She is poor because she has greater goods.

–Q: What has been the most striking thing about this consistory?

–Cardinal Tonini: I was impressed to see that the Church is found in her totality. Hearing the cardinal of Jakarta speak about martyrdom, about the massacres to which Catholics are exposed in the different islands of Indonesia; hearing the bishops of the realm of youth, I must say that we are before a vibrant Church, and it is wonderful to be part of her.

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The consistory ends Thursday with a Mass presided over by John Paul II. The cardinals are expected to publish a joint message the same day.

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