Full Text of Interventions at Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 10, 2012.- Here is the Official Summary and Full Texts of yesterday’s Interventions at the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Faith.

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At 4:30 p.m. today, Tuesday October 9 2012, with the recital of the prayer Pro felici Synodi exitu, the Fourth General Congregation began, for the voting on the Commission for the Message and for continuing the interventions by the Synod Fathers in the Hall on the Synodal theme «The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith».

The President Delegate on duty H. Em. Card. Francisco ROBLES ORTEGA, Archbishop of Guadalajara (MEXICO).

During the Congregation the Report on the Implementation of “Verbum Domini” was read. Free interventions by Synodal Fathers followed.

At this General Congregation,which ended at 18.55 p.m. with the prayer Angelus Domini, 253 Fathers were present.


During the General Congregation, the first ballots for the election of the Commission for the Message were cast, presided by pontifical nomination by H. Em. Rev. Card. Giuseppe BETORI, Archbishop of Florence (ITALY) and Vice President H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Luis Antonio G. TAGLE, Archbishop of Manila (PHILIPPINES).

The Message to the People of God

At synodal assemblies, it has been the practice to publish a Message (Nuntius) addressed to the People of God, particularly to those persons directly associated with the synod’s topic. Pastoral in nature, the Nuntius’ purpose is to encourage the People of God to respond faithfully to their proper vocation, and to praise them for the efforts already being made. During the second week a first draft of the Nuntius is presented to the Assembly for general discussion. After noting the observations of the Assembly, the Commission prepares the definitive text which is later submitted to the Assembly for its approval. The definitive text of the Nuntius is published at the end of the synod’s work. The two drafts are to be prepared in French, English, Italian, Spanish and German.

Composition of the Commission for the Preparation of the Message 

The Commission for the Preparation of the Message which will be published at the conclusion of the synod, is comprised of 12 members of which 8 are elected by the assembly (1 from each continent, 1 from the Oriental Churches sui iuris, 1 from the Departments of the Roman Curia and 1 from the Union of Superiors General) and 4 appointed by the Holy Father, including the President and Vice-President.

In appointing members of the Commission–composed entirely of synod fathers–consideration is to be given to the following: variety of Churches (different nations and languages);Church and cultural sensitivities; special competency required; creative ability and writing skills; capacity to work in a group.

The duties of the President of the Commission are: to convoke, when necessary, and preside over the meetings of the Commission; to present in plenary session an initial draft of the Message for discussion by the synod fathers; to establish sub-commissions or work groups for re-formulating the first draft of the Message; to provide a text in the various working languages of the XIII General Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishop, both for the initial draft and the final version; to present the definitive text of the Message to the assembly for voting. This can be done directly by the President of the Commission, the Vice-President or another member of the Commission designated by the President; to present the Message during a Press Conference.

Electronic Voting System

Voting for the Commission for Commission for the Message took place electronically.

To vote electronically, the Synodal Fathers use a device, which is also used for attendance purposes. This device can manage two types of voting: simple vote and multiple vote.
Simple vote. When voting on a single motion where a consensus is required, one uses “PLACET”, “NON PLACET”, “ABSTINEO” or “PLACET IUXTA MODUM”. Once the choice is made, it is confirmed by pushing the green button “CONFIRMO”.
Multiple vote. When a vote requires a preference between various motions, one uses the numerical buttons, pushing the number corresponding to one’s choice and confirming with the green button “CONFIRMO”. In case of an error in buttons, “No Valido” will appear on the display.
In case of an error or if one wishes to change the choice, push the red button “DELEO” then push the correct button for the correct choice and confirm with the green button “CONFIRMO”. This can be repeated until the President decides that the available time has ended.


The following Fathers intervened:
– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. José Luis CHÁVEZ BOTELLO, Archbishop of Antequera (MEXICO)
– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Milton Luis TRÓCCOLI CEBEDIO, Titular Bishop of Munaziana, Auxiliary Bishop of Montevideo (URUGUAY)
– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Mario Alberto MOLINA PALMA, O.A.R., Archbishop of Los Altos (GUATEMALA)
– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. André LÉONARD, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel, President of the Episcopal Conference (BELGIUM)
– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Gervas ROZARIO, Bishop of Rajshahi (BANGLADESH)
– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. José Rafael QUIRÓS QUIRÓS, Bishop of Limón (COSTA RICA)
– H. Em. Rev. Card. André VINGT-TROIS, Archbishop of Paris, President of the Episcopal Conference (FRANCE)
– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Yves PATENÔTRE, Archbishop of Sens (FRANCE)
– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Timothy John COSTELLOE, S.D.B., Archbishop of Perth (AUSTRALIA)

The summaries of the interventions are published below:

– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. José Luis CHÁVEZ BOTELLO, Archbishop of Antequera (MEXICO)

Faithfulness to Jesus Christ in the context of the great social, cultural and intra-ecclesial challenges, urges us to offer a guiding proposal that reconsiders, articulates and ensures the common fundamental elements in the transmission of the faith in a whole process of Christian Initiation, but in the light of a New Evangelization and of the Aparecida.
Among other things, I would like to point out: 1- The centrality of Jesus Christ as the spine of all of Christian life around the kerygma-encounter, following, adhesion and mission. 2- The experience of the ecclesial community as the model and the main subject in the education of the faith, where the believer receives and discovers his dignity as a child of God and acquires the feeling of belonging as a member of the family of God. 3- The wholeness and the graduality of the message in the comprehension and living of the faith; a learning that ensures the doctrinal synthesis but above the living synthesis of faith and which strengthens Christian identity. It is important to close Christian Initiation with the option and the orientation of life for Jesus Christ inserting in the ecclesial community and taking up the basic means of perseverance: Sunday Eucharist, the penitential path, prayer and charity in fraternal life.
In other words, this means offering a path with precise stages, a guiding catechism of Christian Initiation, a structure for the basic formation for all the baptized; just like the seminaries that the Council of Trent asked for in all the Church for the formation of the future priests.

[00052-02.03] [IN029] [Original text: Spanish]

– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Milton Luis TRÓCCOLI CEBEDIO, Titular Bishop of Munaziana, Auxiliary Bishop of Montevideo (URUGUAY)

The Church in Uruguay faces the challenge of secularization for almost a century. In fact, it is one of the Latin-American countries that has been most
affected by this phenomenon. What is more, the Church receives no subsidies or help from the state to support its pastoral structures and educational works.
In the light of our ecclesial experience, we propose the following path for the new evangelization:
-Rethinking the faith-culture dialogue, seeking paths to meet those men and women who are open to the truth and involved in the search for the common good.
-Establishing a “pastoral of the first announcement”, capable of encouraging the desire and search for God in men and women who do not know Jesus Christ.
-Reinforcing a catechesis in an ecumenical key, based on the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA), aimed above all at young people and adults, uniting catechesis and liturgical life.
-Giving priority to the family as the home and school for the transmission of the Gospel, protecting its integrity and proclaiming its value for the world of today, as the first cell of society and school of humanization.
-Stimulating popular piety (very present among our simple people), above all in the Marian sanctuaries, as an opportunity to announce the Gospel in a kerygmatic key.
-Continuing to animate the Ecclesial Movements and Lay Associations so that they unite their efforts with those of the particular Church into which they are inserted, so as to bear witness to the evangelization based on communion and unity with all the pastoral agents of the dioceses that, insofar as it is a sacrament of Christ, is the subject of evangelization.

[00053-02.04] [IN030] [Original text: Spanish]

– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Mario Alberto MOLINA PALMA, O.A.R., Archbishop of Los Altos (GUATEMALA)

It is necessary that this Synodal Assembly point out what is the human problem on which the Gospel of Jesus should insist more than any other, in such a way that this aspect might become the primary reference, though not the only one, of the evangelization. I propose that it should be stated clearly that Jesus Christ and his Gospel offer, above all, an understanding of human life in view of the free call of God to eternal life. In this way they provide an answer to the problem of death which takes from human existence its meaning, consistency and value. The remaining problems stem from this, from a pastoral point of view. In fact the central event in the saving work of Christ is his resurrection, that is, his victory over death and sin so as to obtain a new human existence alongside God. Many of the pastoral efforts of the Church in Latin America have sought to resolve the most evident problems that afflict men and women, leaving in the shadows and not resolving the fundamental questions about the meaning of life. The success of Pentecostalism and Christian fundamentalism is in part due to the fact their exponents knew how to identify principally the area in which the meaning of life faces death and sin, capturing the membership of many with a proposition that is not of the same quality as that which the Catholic Church can offer, which is based on theology and spirituality.

[00054-02.02] [IN031] [Original text: Spanish]

– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. André LÉONARD, Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel, President of the Episcopal Conference (BELGIUM)

One of the things reining in evangelization is the reality of evil. How can we put together the existence of God and that of evil? Even Saint Thomas and the Catechism are pulled between these two tendencies. One tendency is to see in evil a drama tied to the inevitable finitude of creatures. But how then can one escape evil in eternal life, since we remain finite creatures? The other sees in the tragedy of this world a state contingent to creation which does not correspond to creative action. These questions, notably linked with science, are a great challenge for Christian wisdom. It should be raised again thanks to the theology of Paul, especially Rom 8:18-23. It is necessary to consider in depth what he said about the present state of creation, subject as it is to vanity and turned to the servitude of corruption.
Two-thirds of active members of the Church are women. However, many feel discriminated against. It is time to clarify that, if the Church does not ordain female priests, this is not because they are less capable or less worthy! On the contrary! It is solely because the priest is not only a “minister of the rite”, but a representative of Christ the Groom Who came to wed humanity. Let us give thanks for the quality and the specificity of the massive contribution of women to evangelization. Some strong gestures should underline this clearly. Without joyous women, recognized in their own being and proud of belonging to the Church, there would be no new evangelization.

[00055-02.06] [IN032] [Original text: French]

– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Gervas ROZARIO, Bishop of Rajshahi (BANGLADESH)

With the advancement of material development there is a growing tendency of worldliness among the people everywhere. Today there is an increasing number of challenges to faith in God including atheism, fundamentalism, relativism, etc. For this reason, there is an urgent need for evangelization and re-evangelization which will enable people to discover that God is the ultimate and Supreme Being who is the Creator and Master of the Universe. New evangelization is not new in subject because «Jesus Christ is the same today as he was yesterday and as he will be for ever» (Heb 13:8). For the new Churches, like in Bangladesh, one may think of «Evangelization in the new Millennium» or «Evangelization in the Modern Times». This means putting out into the «deep». In a world swayed by materialism and consumerism, the Church and especially her leaders need to become Masters of Spiritual Life. There is a need to find out appropriate means and methods in order to carry on the mission of evangelization, in the form of Asian asceticism as expressed even in the traditional monastic models of the Church.
The new evangelization is very much meaningful in our context when we consider evangelization as concern for the poor as it was for Jesus. The negative sense of poverty as experienced by our Asian peoples is mainly the result of the insatiable greed of the few rich and powerful. But there is also a positive sense of poverty: «How blessed are the poor in spirit, the kingdom of heaven is theirs» (Mt 5:3). This evangelical poverty is something that the Church is called to live and preach, especially in Asia. As true believers in Jesus Christ, we must learn not only to renounce worldly goods, and also appreciate the simplicity and humility of the poor, their happiness with whatever little they have and their concern for others. Church leaders must also open their hearts to be evangelized by the evangelical values of the poor. Such a culture of solidarity with the poor will surely show us a way to address environmental justice and world hunger.

[00056-02.04] [IN033] [Original text: English]

– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. José Rafael QUIRÓS QUIRÓS, Bishop of Limón (COSTA RICA)

Today when we raise the topic of the new evangelization, we are coming into harmony with that great initiative that was rendered concrete by the Pope John Paul II of Blessed Memory, who, through his life and word, stimulated throughout the Church the desire to renew the Church’s capacity for evangelization.
Faced with this topic, proposed as the foundation for this Synodal Assembly, what becomes imperative for the new evangelization is the renewal of the parish as a space that renders possible and organic an authentic experience of meeting with Jesus Christ and of participating in his following as disciples. The parish must articulate itself as a great community of small communities and communal experiences in which it becomes possible to redeem the personalizing value of the meeting.
In this sense, in the context of a society in which anonymity and indifference, the hunger for domination and the affirmation of relationships marked by power, apathy
in the defense of the dignity of human beings, the desire to possess and the rampant consumerism that derives from that, appear to us as the characteristics of a lifestyle that is anti-evangelical, the normative character of the first Christian community leads us to re-evaluate the importance of the promotion of an alternative lifestyle, marked by Gospel values, that transforms the community of believers into a motor for the promotion of the confession of faith as a matrix of cultural, ethical, political and economic meaning that is authentically human. A group of disciples who are capable of teaching how to relativize every idolatrous absolutism that transforms human beings into objects and deforms in them the truth about being human.
With this aim, we ask that the parish community should appear in the eyes of society as a community of brothers whose primary concern is prayer, service and accompaniment; that processes of formation be born with clearly established paths that lead to an authentic human and Christian maturing of their members, thus avoiding what is known as “epidermic faith”.

[00057-02.03] [IN034] [Original text: Spanish]

– H. Em. Rev. Card. André VINGT-TROIS, Archbishop of Paris, President of the Episcopal Conference (FRANCE)

Today, in many Western countries, the new evangelization is, in fact, a first announcement, bearing in mind the general secularization of customs and culture. More than ignorance, we must deplore the culture formatted by the mediatic language and its recourse to the instantaneous and the affected.
This is why, in this context, new evangelization must unite the witness of the faith and a pedagogy of culture in the same effort.
The witness of faith is more perceivable when it manifests the communion that joins all the members of the Church and expresses ecclesial action at all levels: teaching the Magisterium, public declarations on different subjects, the vitality of the parishes and Christian communities, the manifest reference of each Christian to the life of Christ, through the word in the way of living. Its credibility rests largely on the witness lived by Christians and on the visibility of their participation in the life of the Church.
The pedagogy of culture is developed through the commitment of Christians in all the educational systems and by their contribution to a true education of intelligence, which is the condition necessary to practice a true freedom.
On the other hand, we must invest all our means in the formation of the clergy and the laity so that they may be able to better show that adhesion to the Christian faith is not a contradiction to human reason.Finally, we must develop the ethical consequences of a Christian anthropology rooted in Revelation and deployed in a dialogue with other wisdoms. We must be more conscious that we are the guardians of a treasure for the future of humanity and bearers of hope.

[00058-02.04] [IN035] [Original text: French]

– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Yves PATENÔTRE, Archbishop of Sens (FRANCE)

If the phenomenon of secularization exists in our countries of old Christianity, this should not discourage us but rather renew the missionary spirit in us. We must look at today’s world with the gaze of the Father. This world is loved by God. He sees it as the world of his children in the diversity of peoples, cultures and religions. He is the Father of the human family. The divine trace of this paternity is love at the heart of every human being. Christians, by the grace of Revelation, we know that love comes from God, that love is God, how to make it recognized? This was the mission of Jesus. Today, it is our mission.
Vatican Council II presented the Church as a sacrament of union of men with God and between themselves. A sacrament is a reality of the world which reveals the mystery of salvation because it is its realization. Without being of this world, is our Church properly in the world? She is visible but is her message readable? Also, in some way, we are not signs of the Church, but signs of Christ, and in this we will be the Church: face and word of Christ, living and proclaiming the faith of today in the words of yesterday.
This reminds me of an always relevant phrase by Cardinal Suhard, the founder of the Mission in France: “This does not mean making the world enter the Church as she is, but making the Church capable of welcoming the world as it is.” For our Synod, this is a full program. What joy in proposing the Good News of Jesus to all of today’s men and women, to the young and to the infants, who do not know that they are so close to the Source.

[00059-02.04] [IN036] [Original text: French]

– H. Exc. Rev. Mons. Timothy John COSTELLOE, S.D.B., Archbishop of Perth (AUSTRALIA)

In Christifidelis laici Pope John Paul II spoke of the need to «remake the fabric of the ecclesial community» if we are to remake the fabric of the society in which we live. To do this we must recover the ecclesiology of the Church as the Body of Christ, with Christ as its life-giving head. 
The first chapter of the Instrumentum laboris stresses this by focusing our attention on Christ and reminding us that the goal of all evangelization is to foster an encounter between the person and Christ.
The time has come for us as bishops to place Christ at the heart of our preaching and teaching, and encourage our priests and deacons to do the same. We must help people to be captured by the fascination which the Jesus of the gospels exerts on hearts and minds. 
To paraphrase the Rector Major of the Salesians of Don Bosco who made a similar remark about contemporary religious life: The greatest challenge facing the Church today is to return the Church to Christ and to return Christ to the Church – not to become other than we are but to become more fully who and what we are.

[00060-02.04] [IN037] [Original text: English]


H. Em. R. Card. Marc OUELLET, P.S.S., Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops (VATICAN CITY) presented in Italian the Report on the Implementation of “Verbum Domini”.

The presentation in Italian and the original version in French were published in the multilingual edition of the Bulletin. We publish below the English translation of the summary.

Two years after the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini in 2010, which closed one synodal reflection, developed since 2006 and extended therefore over the four years, the opening of this new Synod leads us to reflect on the reception of this post-synodal document, to sum up what has been done with its orientations that wished to renew the faith of the Church. If it is too early to make an overall assessment on its reception, we can still see a growing interest of the faithful in the Word of God, many initiatives reveal a progressive consciousness of the central place of the Word of God in pastoral life, and a good number of countries have used the means of social communication to make the Apostolic Exhortation known and its implications in ecclesial life.
As for what pertains to the liturgy, the deep conviction reasserted in Verbum Domini, according to which the liturgy is the privileged place where God speaks to us, has found deep echoes from pastors, liturgists and catechists, especially among those speaking Italian, Spanish and English. On the other hand, the Synod inspired important publications, which developed the catechetical model of the recital of the Disciples of Emmaus. And the new impulse given to the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the occasion of the Year of the Faith is also a privileged opportunity of the reception of Verbum Domini. Concerning scientific research, and the fundamental relation between exegesis and theology, one should not expect a rapid change in thinking habits, however the openings exist for a rigorous and constructive dialogue, respecting the difference of charisms and methods. The un
iversity spheres generally react slowly to the interventions of the ecclesial Magisterium, but this slowness does not necessarily mean opposition or indifference. Some scientific congresses were organized in Rome, in Poland and in America on Verbum Domini.
We noted with satisfaction the originality and the novelty of the doctrinal development of Verbum Domini on the Word of God, where the multiple meanings refer to Christ, as the main Analogue. This Christology of the Word gathers the theological intuitions formulated by eminent theologians following Karl Barth, whose Christocentrism had great ecumenical influence.
Another major theme worthy of attention is that of the performance of the Word, in other words its dynamic and effective characteristic which takes on a sacramental dimension in the liturgical context. The native performance of the Word thus reaches the proper sacramental level of a personal communion that demonstrates that the Word of God is much more than just information and teaching.
The ecclesial hermeneutic of Scripture is rooted in the same nature as Scripture as the joint witness of Spirit and Church. This hermeneutic pre-supposes a harmonious integration of faith and reason, just as a communion to the life of the Church and the knowledge of the lives of the saints, who are living canons of interpretation.
On the publication of the Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini, Pope Benedict XVI formulates a fervent prayer for new evangelization, hoping that our time will be consecrated more to listening to the Word of God.
New evangelization, just like the first one, must depend on the Holy Spirit, the great protagonist of the mission of the Church ad gentes and of all of today’s forms of new evangelization. The evangelization of the world has truly taken flight with the kairos of the Pentecost, and can only start there.
Fifty years after the Ecumenical Vatican Council II, the reform undertaken with the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum has been confirmed and even developed. In this sense, Verbum Domini is a great exercise of reception of Vatican Council II.

[00073-02.04] [NNNNN] [Original text: French]
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