MILAN, Italy, SEPT. 30, 2002 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi was installed as the new archbishop of Milan, and warned that Europe’s largest diocese must renew the vitality of the faith, so threatened by “secularization.”
On Sunday, the new archbishop received from his predecessor, Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, the crosier that once belonged to St. Charles Borromeo. Cardinal Martini was also the one who had ordained Dionigi Tettamanzi a bishop.
Cardinal Tettamanzi, 68, delivered a long address during the ceremony, outlining his program for Milan, which has its own rite.
He said he wishes to be close to the various realities of this huge diocese, “sharing the fears and hopes” of all. In keeping with this desire, he went outside after the ceremony to greet those who could not be accommodated inside the cathedral.
The cardinal said one of the objectives of his mission is to make people freer. “As bishop of this Church of God that is in Milan, I hope to claim this same freedom before all with firmness and conviction,” he said.
Quoting St. Ambrose, a predecessor in this see, Cardinal Tettamanzi said that it is “not right for an emperor to suffocate the freedom of expression, or for a bishop to silence his own thought.”
Appealing to all the faithful to cooperate in the mission of the Church, the cardinal said that this “is not a private affair nor a solitary task.” He called for respect for “the variety and complementarity” of vocations and conditions of life, and appealed to the laity to become “co-participants in the sole mission of the Church.”
Addressing priests, Cardinal Tettamanzi urged them not to allow themselves to be “overcome by inevitable exhaustion and difficulties.”
Quoting St. Paul, he said that the “indispensable condition and the propelling force of real ecclesial communion is humility.”
The cardinal urged greater commitment in “addressing the new frontiers of the interreligious dialogue, giving a predominant place to the Jewish people and appropriate attention to the faithful of Islam, without neglecting the members of the great Eastern religions.”
The Milan Archdiocese has 4.8 million Catholics. It has about 2,200 diocesan priests, 1,000 men religious and 8,000 women religious. It has more parishes — 1,100 — than any diocese.