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Pope Asks Advice on Lefebvre, Islam, Retired Prelates

Meets Cardinals on Eve of Consistory

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 23, 2006 ( On the eve of his first consistory as Pope, Benedict XVI presided at a meeting of cardinals to address the key challenges facing the Church.

During today’s meeting, described as “a moment of reflection and prayer,” the Holy Father asked the cardinals for their judgment on three topics of particular importance, said a communiqué published by the Holy See.

The three topics deal with “the condition of bishops emeritus; then the question caused by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and the liturgical reform desired by the Second Vatican Council; and finally, the questions linked to the dialogue between the Church and Islam.”

The Pope clarified that the meeting was “also open to other possible topics.”

Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, introduced the meeting. Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, addressed the first question.

Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy and president of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei,” illustrated the question on the followers of Monsignor Lefebvre.

Twenty cardinals spoke in the morning to give their point of view.

St. Turibius

The afternoon session continued with the question of Islam, with interventions by Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. Cardinal Sodano also intervened in this session.

The communiqué stated that at the start of the meeting, the Holy Father thanked the cardinals for their participation in the assembly and remembered those who were unable to attend.

Benedict XVI then made reference “to the Lenten liturgical season, which is already midway, and the memorial of that day, St. Turibius of Mongrovejo, model pastor totally dedicated to the service of the Gospel.”

St. Turibius of Mongrovejo, second archbishop of Lima, was proclaimed patron of the Latin American Episcopate by John Paul II in 1983.

In his greeting, Cardinal Sodano said that the meeting showed “the importance that His Holiness attributes to the College of Cardinals. For our part, we commit ourselves to correspond to the mission that the Church expects from us.”

On Friday, the Pope will elevate 15 new cardinals.

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