No Collegiality Without Papal Primacy, Synod Is Told

Bishops Highlight Indispensable Role of Pope

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 4, 2001 ( The Synod of Bishops was cautioned that petitions for greater collegiality in Church governance must not undermine papal authority.

A number of prelates, including Bishop José Mario Ruiz Navas, president of the Ecuadorean episcopal conference, and Bishop Amédée Grab of Chur, Switzerland, president of the Council of European Episcopal Conferences, requested a few days ago that the assembly increase the powers of the bishops´ conferences and the synod.

Two of the participants, Cardinal Laszlo Paskai, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, and Archbishop Luis Morales Reyes, president of the Mexican episcopal conference, addressed the assembly and pointedly reminded their listeners that collegiality cannot challenge papal primacy, which has an irreplaceable character in the Church.

Cardinal Paskai said he felt obliged to speak in defense of the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, because he believes that it is necessary «to express clearly the doctrine of the Church in our time, where the common sentiment is against authority and hierarchy.»

The 73-year-old Hungarian cardinal, who for decades suffered from the Communist repression, reminded the assembly that «the person and the service of the Supreme Pontiff has given great spiritual force and strength to the faithful in the past, during the Christian persecutions.»

For his part, Archbishop Morales Reyes of San Luis Potosi addressed the question of Peter´s Successor, explaining that «faithfulness to this primacy is an integral and unrenounceable part of the Christian faith.»

«Episcopal collegiality must be understood in the light of the sources of revelation and not of human or social models with which there could be some apparent resemblance,» he added.

«The biblical data and teaching of the Church require that this synodal assembly study in depth the theme of collegiality-spirituality in line with ´Novo Millennio Ineunte,´ in order to make it more dynamic and vital,» he said, referring to John Paul II´s apostolic letter published at the end of the Jubilee year.

Archbishop Morales Reyes urged that all might «continue studying in-depth the theological and legal nature of the conferences of bishops, in particular, with regard to their collegial teaching and their relationships with the Roman Curia,» he said. «May ´collegiality-spirituality´ permeate and transform them in order to make each conference ´the home and school for communion.´»

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