May 24, 2001
volume 12, no. 130


Consistory´s Most Frequently Mentioned Topic Holiness, Says Cardinal Tonini

    VATICAN CITY, MAY 23, 2001 ( On Day 3 of the extraordinary consistory, John Paul II listened as Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iñíguez presented a summary of the proposals made earlier by his brother cardinals, in their working groups.

    To get a sense of how the consistory developed, ZENIT interviewed Italian Cardinal Ersilio Tonini, 86, archbishop emeritus of Ravenna. He was made a cardinal in 1994, in recognition of his work as a communicator in the press, radio and television.

Question: Eminence, what have you all accomplished over these days?

Cardinal Tonini: It is as though the Church has removed her veil and shown her real face: a community that reflects exhaustion, hope, courage, zeal -- all stemming from Christ.

    The topic that was most frequently mentioned was holiness, that is, we have returned to the cave in Bethlehem, to the cenacle, the cross, and the resurrection of Christ the Lord, to the strength of the sacraments -- Christ living in our midst, who inspires us with his Spirit and helps us look at what will happen, so that this generation will know that it is living in the most extraordinary moment of the history of the world, because now there is truly a return to the beginning.

    For example, the great challenge facing the world today is the following: Will we be able to live together, to live together in a human way?

Q: How will the third millennium Church be; how was this perceived by this consistory?

Cardinal Tonini: One of the most frequently mentioned topics was ecumenism: a Church that goes out in search of unity. More than that: It is about people feeling that the love of the Creator is in Christians.

Q: A Church that has a logic which is different from that of the world.

Cardinal Tonini: Certainly, because it is a Church that looks at each thing from its source.

Q: A Church that is a real witness; a Church of the poor, it was said.

Cardinal Tonini: A Church that is poor because it is filled with God. She is poor because she has greater goods.

Q: What has been the most striking thing about this consistory?

Cardinal Tonini: I was impressed to see that the Church is found in her totality. Hearing the cardinal of Jakarta speak about martyrdom, about the massacres to which Catholics are exposed in the different islands of Indonesia; hearing the bishops of the realm of youth, I must say that we are before a vibrant Church, and it is wonderful to be part of her.

    The consistory ends Thursday with a Mass presided over by John Paul II. The cardinals are expected to publish a joint message the same day. ZE01052308

Extraordinary Consistory Nears Conclusion

    VATICAN, May 23, 01 ( -- The extraordinary consistory of the College of Cardinals continued on Wednesday, with the prelates meeting in small groups, broken down by language groups, to discuss the main themes that have emerged in their meeting.

    The cardinals will conclude their discussions on Wednesday evening. The small discussion groups will present their conclusions to the entire group, and Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iniguez will summarize the proceedings. A final message will probably be released on Thursday, the feast of the Ascension.

    With few exceptions, the cardinals were reluctant to speak with reporters about their discussions. But several prelates indicated that collegiality was a recurring theme. And Cardinal Godfried Daneels reported that "many of the cardinals asked for a reform of the synod." He suggested that the synod of bishops-- composed of 250 bishops chosen by their episcopal conferences, representing the entire body of bishops from around the world-- should hold scheduled meetings every year.

Cardinals in Consistory Stress Importance of Family Life

    ROME, 23 (NE) The importance of family was one of the main themes touched yesterday by Cardinals during the extraordinary consistory being held in the Vatican. According to Joaquin Navarro-Valls, Holy See Press Office director, most cardinals indicated the need for a strong formation for family life and for a reflection on an anthropology of human sexuality. They also felt that the Church should produce a lexicon of terms relating to the "new" sexuality and to themes relating to the family. Navarro-Valls pointed out that the Pontifical Council for the Family is already working on such a lexicon. He said, by way of example, that some of the "new" terms regarding human sexuality, such as "sexual health," or "gender," emerged in recent years during the United Nations conferences on population, women, social development and human settlements in which Holy See delegations took part.

    Navarro-Valls also announced that several Cardinals have thanked Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, for the document "Dominus Iesus" and suggested that it be used in interreligious dialogue. Commenting other interventions, he said that Cardinal Avery Dulles spoke of the primacy of Peter and its importance for the unity of the Church. Theoretically, he stated, one could think that primacy creates a great ecumenical difficulty; still, it is precisely the lack (of such a primacy) in other Christian confessions which creates difficulties of doctrinal and disciplinary types, for example.

May 24, 2001
volume 12, no. 130
News from ROME
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