Sunday, October 24, 2010

"Ad Fidem Tradendam"

As previously noted, at today's closing Mass of the Synod of Bishops for the Middle East, the Pope announced the topic of the global episcopate's next Roman group-think.

Here, from the official English translation of the talk -- originally given, as ever, wholly in Italian -- the relevant snip for what lies ahead:
"During the work of the Synod what was often underlined was the need to offer the Gospel anew to people who do not know it very well or who have even moved away from the Church. What was often evoked was the need for a new evangelization for the Middle East as well. This was quite a widespread theme, especially in the countries where Christianity has ancient roots. The recent creation of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization also responds to this profound need. For this reason, after having consulted the episcopacy of the whole world and after having listened to the Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, I have decided to dedicate the next Ordinary General Assembly, in 2012, to the following theme: 'Nova evangelizatio ad christianam fidem tradendam - The new evangelization for the transmission [lit.: handing on] of the Christian faith.'"
Meanwhile, keeping a tradition begun by John Paul II -- who convoked 16 of the 23 Synodal assemblies since the concept's Western launch in the wake of the Council -- the fortnight's informal close came yesterday at a papal lunch for the gathering's clerical and lay attendees alike.

Here, a translation from B16's postprandial remarks:
Communion and witness. In this moment I thank the Lord for the communion he has given to us and gives us. We've seen the richness, the diversity of this communion. You are a church of diverse rites, but who still together form, with all the other ritues, one Catholic church. It's beautiful to see this true catholicity, so rich in diversity, so rich in possibilities, in diverse cultures; and yet, still growing from it, the polyphony of one faith, of a true communion of hearts, which only the Lord could give. For this experience let us thank the Lord, and I thank all of you. It seems that maybe the most important gift of this Synod is that we have seen and realized the communion that binds all of us to each other and is witnessed to through that.

Communion. The Catholic, Christian, communion is an open communion, one of dialogue. So we have been in permanent dialogue, internally and externally, with our Orthodox brothers, with the other ecclesial communions. And we have felt that through this we are united -- even if there are external divisions: we have felt the profound communion in the Lord, in the gift of his Word, of his life, and let us hope that the Lord guides us toward proceeding in this profound communion.

We are united with the Lord, and so -- we could say -- we are "discovered" by the truth. And this truth doesn't close, nor places limits, but opens. And so we've also been in a frank and open dialogue with our Muslim brothers, with our Jewish brethren, all together responsible for the gift of peace, for peace in that part of the earth blessed by the Lord, cherished by Christianity and also by two other religions. We wish to continue along this road with strength, tenderness and humility, and with the courage of the truth that is love and that, in love, opens itself.

I said that we conclude this Synod with lunch. But its real close tomorrow is with the banquet of the Lord, the celebration of the Eucharist. The Eucharist, in reality, is never a closing, but an opening. The Lord walks with us, and with us, the Lord sets us out in movement. And so, in this sense, we are in Synod, that is a road that continues even as we part: we are in Synod, on a shared road.