February 27, 2001
volume 12, no. 58

Consistory in May to Examine Petrine Ministry

Central Theme of Meeting Will Focus on Recent Apostolic Letter

    VATICAN CITY, FEB. 26, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II will convene an extraordinary consistory May 21-24 of all the Church's cardinals in order to analyze, among other things, the Petrine ministry and episcopal collegiality.

    "The central theme of this sixth plenary meeting of the College of Cardinals is the study of the Church's prospects for the third millennium, in light of the Holy Father's recent apostolic letter 'Novo Millennio Ineunte,'" Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls said.

    The Roman newspaper Il Messaggero said the cardinals will study the Petrine ministry with the Pope, that is, the role and functions of the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, as well as episcopal collegiality, namely, the ministry of bishops united among themselves and in communion with the Pontiff.

    This is an issue the Pope addresses in Number 44 of "Novo Millennio Ineunte": "The new century will have to see us more than ever intent on valuing and developing the forums and structures which, in accordance with the Second Vatican Council's major directives, serve to ensure and safeguard communion. How can we forget in the first place those specific services to communion which are the Petrine ministry and, closely related to it, episcopal collegiality?"

    According to Vatican expert Orazio Petrosillo, writing in Il Messaggero, the consistory might also address the state of relations between the Catholic Church and Christian churches in the hope of "re-establishing full communion."

    Moreover, the newspaper said the Pope and cardinals might make a final evaluation of the Jubilee, in which they would discuss, in particular, the question of poor countries' foreign debt.

    The newest extraordinary consistory called for by John Paul II will be the first in seven years.

    At the last one, held June 13, 1994, the Pope articulated to the cardinals the great challenge of moving forward toward full communion with the Orthodox Church, after close to 1,000 years of separation.

    The Vatican announced today that the next extraordinary consistory will be held May 21-24 to address questions posed by the Pope in his recent apostolic letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte." All 183 cardinals have been invited.

    During the first extraordinary consistory convoked by John Paul II, and held Nov. 5-9, 1979, the cardinals analyzed the application of the Second Vatican Council, the reform of the Roman Curia, culture-Church relations, and the question of Vatican finances.

    At the Nov. 23-26, 1982 consistory, the cardinals discussed the Vatican's finances again, following the bankruptcy of the Ambrosian Bank, a private institution on which the Vatican depended for its operations. This consistory continued to analyze the reform of the Roman Curia, and the application of the upcoming new Code of Canon Law.

    The cardinals were convoked again, Nov. 21-23, 1985, to study the Holy See-diocese and Pope-bishops relations. A decisive step was taken in the reform of the Roman Curia, which John Paul II implemented later.

    The consistory of April 4-6, 1991, focused on two topics: "the war between the culture of death and the culture of life," and the attack of sects on the Catholic Church.

    The June 1994 consistory looked at preparations for the Jubilee Year. Some cardinals expressed opposition to the petition for forgiveness that the Pope desired for the errors of the children of the Church throughout history. ZE01022604 and ZE01022605

Imitate New Cardinals, Pope Urges Audience

Announces a special Consistory of Cardinals for May

    VATICAN, Feb. 26, 01 (CWNews.com) – At his Angelus audience on Sunday, February 25, Pope John Paul II said that the creation of new cardinals last was a significant event “not only for them, nor even for the ecclesial community they will serve, but for the entire family of God and her mission in the world.”

    The Holy Father told the crowd in St. Peter’s Square that the new cardinals would help him to lead the Church into the third Christian millennium. He recalled that in his apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte, published on January 6, he had stressed the importance of remaining faithful to the Christian vocation, and bringing Christ into the world and the world’s culture. All Christians, he continued, should follow “the cardinals’ example” in seeking to meet that challenge.

    Also on Sunday, the Pope continued his visits to parish churches in the Rome diocese, making a stop at the new parish of the Nativity of Mary, in the northwest of the city. The Pope celebrated Mass in the new church, which was build just over one year ago.

    The Pope also announced that before the members of the College of Cardinals returned home after the consistory of February 21, he asked them to convene again for an extraordinary consistory in May of this year.

    The Pope told the cardinals—including the 44 new prelates created at the February consistory—that he wished to consult with them about the pastoral challenges facing the Church in the new millennium. He indicated that his apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte could form the basis for their discussions.

    Special meetings of the College of Cardinals are infrequent. The last time the Pope summoned the cardinals to Rome was in 1994.

Following is the Holy Father's Angelus Address from this past Sunday from Zenit.org:


To Be Faithful, the Church Needs Martyrs, Pope Says

Dearest Brothers and Sisters!

1. The recent consistory for the creation of 44 new cardinals, just a few weeks after the conclusion of the Holy Year, will certainly remain memorable in the annals of the Church. I wish to dwell once again on this event and its meaning, which affects not only the new cardinals and the ecclesial Community from which they come, but the whole family of God and its mission in today's world.

    A breath of new hope seems to have invaded Christian people. In the course of the Jubilee and also in these days, the invitation to look to the future has resounded powerfully. The Church looks ahead, and wishes to go "out to sea," inspired by the spiritual dynamism awakened within it by the Jubilee experience. This dynamism cannot but consolidate and enrich the elements that belong, so to speak, to the genetic code of the ecclesial Community: its unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity. The increase of the College of Cardinals, while evidencing the unity of the ecclesial Body around Peter's Successor, underlines the Catholic dimension, reflected in the cardinals' place of origin, from all parts of the world.

2. One might ask: How can the Church be faithful to her vocation, at a time in which the dominant culture seems not infrequently to go against the demanding logic of the Gospel? This question is answered, in symbolic terms, by the red color of the cardinals' habit. As is known, [red] recalls the blood of martyrs, witnesses of Christ to the point of the supreme sacrifice. Cardinals must make visible with their life a love of Christ that does not cease, no matter what the sacrifice. Their example will be an encouragement for all Christians to serve the divine Master generously, regarding themselves as living members of his one mystical Body, which is the Church.

    The necessary condition for the fulfillment of this commitment is the assiduous contemplation of the face of the Lord. I wrote this in the apostolic letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte," and I have been able to confirm it many times. In fact, if there is less hearing of the word of God, if there is a weakening of prayer and interior contact with the Lord, it is easy to fall into a sterile activism, which constitutes a risk that unfortunately is not rare, especially in our days.

3. Let us invoke, for the new cardinals, the special assistance of Mary, Mother of the Church. Reciting the Angelus together, let us ask her to obtain for all believers a generous impulse of more convinced and faithful witness to the Gospel. [Translation by ZENIT] ZE01022507

February 27, 2001
volume 12, no. 58
News from ROME
Return to Today's Issue