POPE URGES BISHOPS TO MAKE COURAGEOUS WITNESS
VATICAN, Oct. 9, 00 (CWNews.com) -- At a solemn Mass on October 8, Pope John Paul II
observed the Jubilee for bishops by emphasizing the "great responsibility" that every diocesan bishop
has to promote "the doctrinal unity of the faithful."
More than 1,500 bishops had come to Rome for the Jubilee, making up the largest aggregation of
bishops since Vatican II. All in all, those assembled in St. Peter's Square constituted more than
one-third of the Catholic bishops alive today.
In his homily at the concluding Mass, Pope John Paul stressed the bishop's duty to counteract the
moral relativism and subjectivism which is so powerful in contemporary culture. To illustrate the point,
he invoked the memory of the Catholic bishops who gave their lives for the faith during the 20th
century, and have subsequently been canonized or beatified. He called special attention to four
Chinese bishops whose beatification he had celebrated just one week earlier. He also mentioned
bishops who died in Nazi death camps, in the Spanish Civil War, and in Communist religious
persecutions. The Pontiff concluded by urging the bishops who were present in Rome to maintain,
through prayer and public witness, their "fraternal solidarity" with their brother bishops who suffer
under active persecution today.
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