MESSAGE OF THE CARDINALS GATHERED TOGETHER IN CONSISTORY

At the end of the three day meeting of the Cardinals, at noon on Ascension Thursday, 24 May, issued a message of communion with the Holy Father and the whole Church in the unity of faith and love. Communion means solidarity with those who are in greatest need, especially those who are caught in the crossfires of ongoing wars and conflicts. The Cardinals invite those in conflict to replace their arms with ploughs. They single out Africa and the Holy Land for special attention. Here is an English translation of the Cardinals' Italian message.

1. At the end of the Consistory, we, who are Cardinals from all over the world, reconfirm our deep communion of faith and love with the Holy Father, the Successor of Peter.

To him goes our cordial gratitude, because, as he gathered us together in Consistory for the preparation of the Great Jubilee of the year 2000, so now in this new Consistory he has called us to reflect on the spiritual and pastoral actualization of the Jubilee grace and to make concrete the general programmatic orientations that are present in the precious letter Novo Millennio ineunte.

Thanksgiving for the graces of Christ-centred Jubilee leads to renewed contemplation of the Person of Christ

2. With the whole Church we give thanks to the Lord, giver of every gift, for the flood of grace which he poured out on the People of God and on humanity during the Holy Year.

3. We are convinced that the great legacy that the Jubilee offered as a gift and responsibility is that of renewing, with personal conviction and growing confidence, our profession of faith in Jesus Christ, Son of God made man, crucified and risen, the only universal Saviour of the world.

For that reason we accept with joy and we represent to all, the mandate to continue to keep our vision fixed on Christ and to contemplate his face through familiarity with the Word of God, constant prayer, personal communion with Him, participation in the Eucharist, especially on the Lord's Day, the reception of the Father's mercy in the sacrament of reconciliation, with a courageous drive towards holiness, the meaning and goal of everyone and the source and force of pastoral work in the Church. So the Jubilee experience can animate and orient the life of believers by their acceptance of the absolute primacy of grace.

Centring on Christ leads to new fervour in evangelization ecumenism and interreligious dialogue

4. The prayerful contemplation of Christ, while it leads to the communion of love with him, nourishes the evangelizing mission of the Church. In the face of the great need everyone has of Christ, we feel called urgently not just to "speak" of him, but also to make him "visible": with the preaching of the Word that saves and with the bold witness of faith in a renewed missionary adventure.

5. Communion, the unity of the disciples for which Christ prayed, is the condition, force and fruit of the evangelizing mission. In a world that is heavily scarred by conflicts and in a Church which bears the wounds of divisions, we feel more strongly the duty of cultivating the spirituality of communion: both within our Christian communities and in pursuing with charity, truth and confidence, the ecumenical dialogue as well as interreligious opening, following the Holy Father's example.

Communion unites Christians to make massive effort to face global problems

6. To live communion obliges the Church to be in solidarity with humanity, in the actual context of globalization, with the increasing crowd of the needy, the suffering, those who have been deprived of their rights, to life, to health, to work, to culture, to social participation and to religious liberty.

Towards peoples who suffer on account of tensions and wars we renew our duty to work for justice, solidarity and peace. Our thought turns particularly to Africa, where numerous populations are tried by ethnic conflicts, by persistent poverty and by serious illness. May the solidarity of the Church reach out to Africa.

Special appeal for peace in the Holy Land

A heartfelt appeal, united with that of the Holy Father, we direct to all Christians so that they may intensify their prayer for peace in the Holy Land and we ask the leaders of the nations to help Israeli's and Palestinians to live peacefully together. In the land of Jesus the situation is serious and too much blood has been shed. In union with the Holy Father we beg the sides involved to reach a "cease-fire" quickly and to start again the dialogue on the level of equal and mutual respect.

Full confidence in the Lord and in the prayer of Our Lady for the Church

7. In the face of numerous, serious and new challenges which the Church encounters in the present culturally changing era, the experience of faith lived during the Jubilee impels us not to be afraid, but to put out into the deep, placing our hope in Christ and trusting in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

While we accompany Our Holy Father with our prayer on his coming pilgrimage to Ukraine, we desire to confirm our fraternal union with all Eastern Churches,

24 May 2001, Solemnity of the Ascension.

 
Taken from:
L'Osservatore Romano
Weekly Edition in English
30 May 2001, page 8

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