Consistory Envisages Church of Future

Cardinals´ Final Message

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VATICAN CITY, MAY 24, 2001 ( The largest consistory of cardinals in history ended today, with participants urging the Church toward missionary activity, solidarity and work for Christian unity.

The 155 princes of the Church also appealed to Christians to mobilize in support of Africa, and made an urgent plea for an end to arms and commitment to dialogue.

In its final message, this pontificate´s sixth extraordinary consistory, held from May 21-24, offers the ever new Christian message: faith in Jesus Christ, «unique and universal Savior of the world,» exactly as he was presented in the «Dominus Iesus» declaration. Several cardinals during the plenary assemblies applauded the declaration.

For Christians to discover the beauty of Christ, the cardinals in their final message suggested some of the means the Church has guarded for 2,000 years: «familiarity with the Word of God, assiduous prayer, and personal communion with him, [and] participation in the Eucharist, especially on the Day of the Lord; acceptance of the Father´s mercy in the sacrament of reconciliation; courageous commitment to holiness, the meaning and end of every man.»

The message added: «In the face of every man´s great need for Christ, we feel urgently called not only to ´talk´ about him, but also to make him ´seen´: with the proclamation of the Word that saves, and the audacious witness of faith in a renewed missionary endeavor.»

If the Gospel message is to be credible, the cardinal wrote, this missionary Church must also overcome its divisions, «both within the Christian community, as well as in proceeding with charity, truth and confidence in the ecumenical road and interreligious dialogue.»

A more united and reconciled Church, the cardinals continued, must necessarily «be in solidarity with humanity, especially in the present context of globalization, with the growing mass of poor, of suffering, of those who are trampled in their sacrosanct rights to life, health, work, culture, social participation, religious liberty.»

The cardinals´ message ends with two appeals. First, they ask for the «solidarity of the whole Church» in support of Africa, «where numerous populations are afflicted by ethnic conflicts, endemic poverty and serious illnesses.» Second, they ask «those who are responsible for nations to help Israelis and Palestinians to live together peacefully.»

The «situation in the Land of Jesus has worsened, and too much blood has already been spilled,» they concluded. «In union with the Holy Father, we entreat the parties in dispute to agree to a ´cease-fire´ immediately, and return to dialogue on a plane of parity and mutual respect.»

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