Cardinal Sees Synod Calling for Conversion

Notes Assembly Is Seeking a More Missionary Church

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 21, 2008 ( According to a Honduran cardinal, the world Synod of Bishops is promoting a «pastoral conversion,» ranging from elements such as better homilies to a more missionary spirit.

Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga, archbishop of Tegucigalpa and president of Caritas Internationalis, gave a review today for the press of the work the assembly has done since it got under way Oct. 5. The synod ends Sunday.

«We want a Church in a state of mission, to recover delight in the Word so as to be able to take it to others,» he said.

Noting the reduced percentage of practicing Catholics in some countries, and the high number of Catholics who leave the Church to join sects or other religious groups, the cardinal affirmed: «Doing more of the same, we’re not going to give answers to the people.

«People want other things and as fathers of families, we should look for other things.»

In this sense, Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga explained some of the proposals arising at the synod, which has encouraged a change from «a biblical animation in ministry to a biblical animation in all ministry.»

Here, the cardinal noted the experience he has personally had during World Youth Days, or other meetings with youth, particularly in Germany. He confirmed that among the youth, he saw an enormous interest in «lectio divina.»

This style of meditated Bible reading, the prelate explained, brings to the Church youth who are not familiar with it. In Latin America, he mentioned, an Internet program of «lectio divina» for youth began 13 years ago. Called «Lectionautas,» it has 130,000 participants and has reached up to 300,000.

«A year go we made an evaluation in Guatemala, and it was very beautiful to see youth giving ‘lectio divina’ to two cardinals, to bishops and priests, with great naturalness and depth,» the cardinal said.


Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga said another area of «pastoral conversion» being promoted at the synod — one he called urgent — is homilies.

«How much time do the faithful have to listen to the Word of God,» he asked. «If they have the luck of being able to go to Mass, then on Sundays.»<br>
And the cardinal emphasized the term «luck» because, he said, in various regions of the world, such as in Central America, there are not enough priests for the people to be able to attend Mass weekly.

«And the homily: Is it good?» he asked the journalists, suggesting that many times the answer is «no.»

The synod in this sense, the cardinal said, is very much encouraging the formation of priests and seminarians.

The Word of God, he explained, guides the social commitments of the Church, since «the incarnation of the Word is the greatest sign of solidarity.»

The prelate added: «Through the Word, we can bring about a humanization of a society that is dehumanizing. We are living an enormous crisis.

«Last May, leaders in the Food and Agriculture Organization gathered together and the conclusion was that there are not possibilities for relieving world hunger. But to relieve the greediness of financial institutions, there are trillions of dollars.

«This tells us that we’re going down the wrong path. The market hasn’t behaved badly. The market doesn’t exist. It’s the directors of the market that made of it a god with feet of clay. An economy based on speculation.»

Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga called for more laypeople to be involved in financial institutions, affirming «these institutions should be reformed.»

«Some Catholics,» he lamented, «when they get into politics, stop using the Bible as their guidebook and take up Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince,’ according to which the ends justify the means.»

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