Twenty-Second General Congregation

Twenty-Second General Congregation

12th Synod of Bishops





At 17:30 today, with the Adsumus prayer, in the presence of the Holy Father, the Twenty-Second General Congregation began, for the reading in the Hall of the Final List of Propositions.

Before the General Congregation, at 17:00, the Holy Father received the German and Italian B Small Groups in Audience.

The Acting President Delegate was H. Em. Card. William Joseph LEVADA, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (VATICAN CITY)

At this General Congregation which concluded at 19.10 with the Angelus Domini prayer, 242 Fathers were present.


Opening the Twenty-Second General Congregation, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, H.Exc. Mons. NIKOLA ETEROVIĆ communicated the nominations of the 12 elected Members of the XII Council of the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops and the nominations of the 3 Members appointed by the Holy Father:

- H. Em. Card. Francis ARINZE, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments (VATICAN CITY)

- H. Em. Card. Francis Eugene GEORGE, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, President of the Episcopal Conference (UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)

- H. Em. Card. Oscar Andrés RODRÍGUEZ MARADIAGA, S.D.B., Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, President of the Episcopal Conference (HONDURAS)

- H. Em. Card. Peter Kodwo Appiah TURKSON, Archbishop of Cape Coast, President of the Association to the Episcopal Conference of West Africa" (A.C.E.A.O.) (GHANA)

- H. Em. Card. Marc OUELLET, P.S.S., Archbishop of Québec (CANADA)

- H. Em. Card. Joseph ZEN ZE-KIUN, S.D.B., Bishop of Hong Kong (CHINA)

- H. Em. Card. Odilo Pedro SCHERER, Archbishop of São Paulo (BRAZIL)

- H. Em. Card. Walter KASPER, President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity (VATICAN CITY)

- H.E. Most. Rev. Laurent MONSENGWO PASINYA, Archbishop of Kinshasa, President of the Episcopal Conference (CONGO R.)

- H.E. Most. Rev. Thomas MENAMPARAMPIL, S.D.B., Archbishop of Guwahati (INDIA)

- H.E. Most. Rev. Diarmuid MARTIN, Archbishop of Dublin (IRELAND)- H.E. Most. Rev. Mark Benedict COLERIDGE, Archbishop of Canberra-Goulburn (AUSTRALIA)

- H.E. Most. Rev. Gianfranco RAVASI, Titular Archbishop of Villamagna di Proconsolare, President of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications (VATICAN CITY)

- H.E. Most. Rev. Florentin CRIHĂLMEANU, Bishop of Cluj-Gherla, Claudiopoli-Armenopoli of the Romeni, Romanias (ROMANIA)

- H.E. Most. Rev. Luis Antonio G. TAGLE, Bishop of Imus (PHILIPPINES)


Thus, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops recalled, in reference to Art. 67 of the Vademecum Synodi Episcoporum, that the Final List of Propositions will be an object of private study on the part of the Synod Fathers, so as to prepare the final vote. Moreover, he recalled that the sheet of the Final List of Propositions is a voting ballot for the Synod Fathers, which for this reason is delivered only to the Fathers and in a single copy reserved for each one; since it is not a secret vote, but rather an open vote on the individual Propositions (with the formula Placet or Non placet), the Synod Fathers must return that ballot signed, in the Twenty-third General Congregation of tomorrow morning, Saturday, 25 October 2008.

The General Relator H.Em. Card. Marc OUELLET, P.S.S., Archbishop of Quebec (CANADA) and the Special Secretary H.Ex. Mons. Laurent MONSENGWO PASINYA, Archbishop of Kinshasa (DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO) alternated the reading in Latin of the Final List of Propositions.


After, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops communicated that the Holy Father Benedict XVI will offer a facsimile of the Bodmer Papyrus XIV-XV to the participants in the XII Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops at the conclusion of their work.

Thus, the Librarian and Archivist of the Holy Roman Church, H.Em.Card. Raffaele FARINA presented the facsimile of the Bodmer Papyrus XIV-XV:

On November 22, 2006, the Bodmer Papyrus XIV-XV arrived in the Vatican Library. Two significant pages were presented to you on January 22, 2007 and then the entire papyrus, on the occasion of your visit to the Vatican Library on June 25 of that same year.

The Bodmer Papyrus XIV-XV came to us in 51 pages, instead of in 72 (for a total of 102 sides), whole or fragmented, they contain almost the entire Gospel according to Luke and more than half of John’s.

The Bodmer Code has been dated, based on comparisons with other manuscripts, between 175 and 225 after Christ. However, the text - and here lies the great importance of this ancient manuscript - is very similar to the one attested, during the Constantine Era, by Code B (the famous Vatican Greek 1209). This is, as well as the Sinai Code, the oldest testimony of the entire Greek Bible, complete with all its books.

The Bodmer Code XIV-XV is today the most precious piece owned by the Vatican Apostolic Library.

Today, I have the honor of presenting Your Holiness with the facsimile of two meaningful pages of this work, which contain the Prologue to the Gospel by John and the Our Father prayer from the Gospel according to Luke. It is a gift from the donor of the Papyrus and from the Vatican Apostolic Library, with your autographed dedication, as the gift Your Holiness makes to the participants of the Synod at the end of the work.

Most Eminent Synodal Fathers, dear brothers, dear sisters, I turn to you, also to accomplish my duty in addressing the Assembly at least once.

The text of the New Testament participates, even if instrumentally, in the Mystery of the Incarnation of Christ. The Vatican Library gave a unique contribution to the world in maintaining and integrally transmitting the original texts of the Holy Scripture, especially the New Testament.
The task of conservation, making it available to researchers and the integral transmission of these treasures for the future, is a commitment that has been done in an efficient way and today is confronted, even if with difficulty, turning to advanced studies and technology, carefully choosing the systems and the company that supplies them.

The manuscripts must be preserved not only from daily use and various catastrophes, but also from any unforeseeable physical deterioration in its configuration, not only the originals but the reproductions as well, which have been made as a precaution in case of the disappearance or destruction of the originals.

One of the most dangerous problems arising is the stress from use for various reasons, not only because of continuous consultation but also due to digital and photographic reproduction, transportation, temperature changes, etc. As I said, I am referring to the originals as well as the copies (microfilms, photographs, digitalized copies, facsimiles, etc.)

In an analogous situation, if I may be allowed to conclude with a warning addressed to this honorable Assembly, the literary text can be subjected to another type of use, from infinite research, sometimes not professionally valid, but also studies not suitably motivated or enlightened by faith. Thus inappropriately interpreted, the text, which in itself is always ready to offer every drop of its precious nectar, becomes exhausted and sterile.

However, this type of risk is naturally beyond the Vatican Library’s control and concerns the professionalism (which refers to the scientific statute of specialization) and the conscience of those who through personal choice or institutional mission dedicate themselves to this privileged field of studies.

In conclusion, I am joyful in communicating that the work of restructuring and rationalizing the spaces of the Library are punctual as foreseen and will end, God willing, before the end of 2009. It will be a great privilege to have you as guests to visit our treasures after that date.

I thank you all on behalf of the Prefect, the Vice Prefect and all the collaborators of the Apostolic Vatican Library.

[Original text: Italian]