DAILY CATHOLIC     WEDNESDAY     June 23, 1999     vol. 10, no. 121

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John Paul II Addresses Symposium on Plenary Council

          VATICAN CITY, JUN 22 (ZENIT).- John Paul II entrusted the international Symposium, which is currently being held at the Vatican to celebrate the centenary of the Plenary Council of Latin America, with the task of planning the future of Latin America by keeping the past in mind.

          The Pope referred to the historic meeting convoked by Leo XIII, which brought to Rome all the Bishops of Latin America, and gave "the peoples new perspectives full of hope."

          The Decrees of that Council, the Spanish edition of which is being republished by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, "although not directly applicable to the present circumstances, serve as a 'memory' which must illuminate, stimulate and help at this crossroads of history," noted the Holy Father. "In these decrees, which were carefully written by the council Fathers, great concern is perceived to maintain and exalt the Catholic faith, to configure the outward appearance of ecclesiastical persons, to protect divine worship and the celebration of the Sacraments, to promote the education of youth and their formation in the principles of Christian doctrine, to encourage the practice of charity and the other virtues."

          The Pope went on, "I want to recall that, since the celebration of the Council, the vitality of the Church in America has grown. Proof of this are the Eucharistic and Marian Congresses, and also the four General Conferences of the Latin American Episcopate held in Rio de Janeiro (1955), Medellin (1968), Puebla (1979) and Santo Domingo (1992), the latter two being inaugurated by me. I also want to recall that, in his historic pilgrimage to Bogota, Paul VI opened the way to the pastoral trips to America which I, with God's favor, have been able to undertake. All this culminated in the celebration of the Synod for America, held at the Vatican, which I had the good fortune to convoke and later, at the beginning of this year, to close in the Mexican Basilica of Guadalupe, the Marian heart of the continent, where I gave the Apostolic Exhortation 'Ecclesia in America.' "

          The Holy Father asked the Symposium participants (both historians and pastors), to work "with objectivity, grounding yourselves on real data and not on ideologies or partial visions of the facts." ZE99062206

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June 23, 1999       volume 10, no. 121


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