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Vatican cardinal warns against syncretism in dialogue; Polish prelate speaks of Divine Mercy

October 11, 2012

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On the fourth day of the Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, 16 synod fathers spoke on various aspects of the synod’s theme, “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”

Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, warned that poorly-catechized Christians should not take part in interreligious dialogue.

“Christians, often ignorant of the content of their own faith and incapable because of this of living of and for it, are not capable of interreligious dialogue that always begins with the assertion of one’s own convictions,” he cautioned. “There is no room for syncretism or relativism! Faced with adepts from other religions with a strong religious identity, it is necessary to present motivated and doctrinally equipped Christians.”

“This makes the new evangelization a priority to form coherent Christians, capable of demonstrating their faith, with simple words and without fear,” he added. “Interreligious dialogue thus becomes an occasion for deepening and witnessing one’s faith.”

Echoing a theme from the synod’s previous day, an Argentine prelate lamented dissent from the Magisterium.

“The theological and philosophical errors which circulate in academic centers, seminaries and novitiates and which are spread through preaching and catechesis, give rise to confusion among the people of God, and are included among the causes of the present situation of faith,” said Archbishop Héctor Aguer of La Plata. “The New Evangelization requires the overcoming of these defects which weaken the certitude of the faith; for this reason, the formation of pastoral agents must correspond to the Magisterium of the Church.”

Bishop Christopher Prowse of Sale, Australia, called for the drafting of a compendium of the initial proclamation of the Gospel. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, he said, “has been a particular grace of the Holy Spirit. It continues to inspire catechesis throughout the Church. Is it time now to attempt a similar kind of compilation on the initial proclamation of the Catholic Church?”

Archbishop Ricardo Blázquez Pérez of Valladolid, Spain, briefly criticized Latin in the liturgy (“for a great deal of time the extraneousness of Latin concealed the ignorance of Sacred Scripture, while now this lack is rising to the surface”), while Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Bosnia-Herzegovina said that holy marriages are the foundation of the new evangelization:

The New Evangelization will succeed if it manages to restore the sanctity of marriage, which is the family nest of love, in such a way that it becomes a little Church. Then, the parochial community will become a powerful motor of evangelization, because it will have strong drivers leading it toward God.

The most powerful thing in evangelization is the encounter with Christ, knowing how to love and accept Christ. This occurs by means of the deepest witness of faith. The family is the strongest witness to the faith, which it transmits with its heart.

Concluding the synod fathers’ deliberations, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz of Krakow said that devotion to the Divine Mercy can lead the men of today out of their “interior desert.”

“One thing is certain,” he said. “Science is not enough. Documents are not enough. Our Church structures are not enough. These do not quite reach the heart of man.”

“A characteristic sign of our times is that the Church today speaks much more effectively when she expresses herself with the message of Divine Mercy,” he added. “God used a humble religious, Saint Faustina Kowalska, as he did a wise and holy shepherd, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla - John Paul II, so that the eternal truth of God rich in faithful love would resound in a more revealing way in today’s restless world … It seems that man today has managed to preserve within himself a sensitivity toward a disinterested mercy. And this itself - God’s mercy which influences his fate - makes itself heard and touches the deepest chords of the human heart.”

The synod fathers’ interventions took place after the election of the leaders of the synod’s working groups and before a talk by Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, primate of the Anglican Communion.


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