Here are two interventions from the Synod:
– H.E. Most. Rev. Raymond Leo BURKE, Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura (VATICAN CITY)
1. Regarding no. 58 of the Instrumentum laboris, the Holy Scriptures teach that God has written His law upon every human heart. The divine natural law, inscribed upon the human heart, can be discovered by reason but is clearly announced to all through the inspired Word of God (cf. Rom 2:15).
2. In the context of pervasive materialism, relativism and radical individualism, it is especially urgent that the Scriptural teaching on the natural moral law be presented as the common heritage of every man.
3. Also urgently needed is the proclamation of the divinely inspired teaching on the discipline which disposes man to do what is good and to avoid what is evil. Holy Scripture teaches us that the observance of the law is not the height of man’ s self-expression, but it is the irreplaceable foundation of the highest expressions of human goodness.
4. Proclaiming the Scriptural teaching on the place of discipline in the lives of individuals and of society is a challenge in a culture which is either antinomian or has made law a tool in the hands of the most powerful.
5. Regarding the relationship of the Word of God and law, it is important to underline the service of canon law in the Church, by which the life of Christ can grow and develop in the whole Church. In his Apostolic Constitution Sacrae disciplinae leges, Pope John Paul II, describing the service of Canon Law in the Church, referred to "that long heritage of law, which is contained in the books of the Old and New Testament and from which the whole juridical and legislative tradition of the Church takes its origin, as from its first source."
6. In the Church, as in society, the understanding of the law has been obscured and, in some cases, lost, leading to gravely harmful effects, for example, the widespread disregard of liturgical laws and the failure to follow the procedural laws by which the faithful vindicate their rights and ecclesiastical delicts are duly sanctioned.
7. The deeper appreciation of the service of law in the Church, through the study of the Word of God, not only helps the Church to understand and treasure the gift of its canonical discipline for the attainment of its divine mission, but also assists society, in general, to understand and treasure the irreplaceable service of law for the attainment of the common good.
[Original text: English]
– H. Em. Card. Joseph ZEN ZE-KIUN, S.D.B., Bishop of Hong Kong (CHINA)
I would like to focus for a moment on the Word of God as Creator of the beauty of the universe and of human beings, gifted with intelligence and heart and, therefore, capable of dialogue with its Creator.
This aspect of the Word is present in Instrumentum laboris, but coming from a country where the Revealed Word strictly speaking has not reached many and where, on the other hand there is an abundance of semina Verbi in popular cultural wisdom, I would like to come back to the question and to express some personal wishes.
My first wish is that this aspect of the Word be sufficiently developed in the final text and that some pertinent recommendations are made by the Assembly.
In Hong Kong the 6 main religious work together to preserve the precious heritage of Chinese wisdom.
The Catholic Church in China has always found a good ally in the Confucian doctrine.
If, moved by charity, we can manage to instill in the young generation the traditional Chinese virtues, we shall have helped them to take a great leap forward towards sainthood.
We can see, unfortunately, what happens when these virtues are lacking: a frightening decline in the sacred values of life, marriage, the family; brazen corruption, a silencing of the voice of conscience, whereby, with the aim of making easy money, it even becomes possible to taint milk and harm the health of defenseless children or even take their lives.
A second point: it is true that this Word as Creator of the Universe and the human conscience is still a Word whose aim is salvation, which is supernatural.
Accepting this, though, I still think it is possible to recommend that, following the example of the same divine patience, great space be granted to this preparatory Word of God and that we do not fall into the temptation of hurrying. I will provide two examples.
a) I heard Professor Yang, the Nobel prize winner, say, “I am not a believer, but I won’t hide the fact that in two instances I feel touched by the mystery: the first is when I found myself faced with a scientific discovery: it is as though we have been caught looking at something we don’t have the right to. The second is when I become aware of the destructive force of technology: I begin to think that we are using forces we should not.”
I must confess it did not occur to me to ask the professor when he will take the next step. Rather I would have told him he was close to the Kingdom of God.
b) The second episode. A conscientious and patriotic journalist is unjustly condemned for spying. As a young man, when he was a student in a Protestant college, he had refused to read the Bible in public because he was an atheist, but then in the long silence of internment the Gospel had found its way into his heart.
A few days ago we met at a luncheon. Well, I hope you won’t be scandalized if I tell you that on that occasion I complimented him for the time he’d refused to read the Bible.
[Original text: Italian]
And the man who may be the next Prefect of the CDW…
– H. Em. Card. Antonio CAÑIZARES LLOVERA, Archbishop of Toledo (SPAIN)
The intervention refers to catechesis, as one aspect of the ministry of the Word. The essential and fundamental role of catechesis should be underlined in the transmission of the Word of God, whose peculiarity lies in being a period of teaching and maturity, of a living reflection on the ministry of Christ, of integral initiation — enlivening, ordered and systematic — to the Revelation that God Himself made to man in Jesus Christ, neither isolated from life nor artificially juxtaposed to it, and safe-guarded in the profound memory of the living Tradition of the Church. Catechesis introduces, starts listening and welcomes the Word and the teachings of the Apostles in the liturgy, in the evangelical moral life conforming to charity and to prayer.
Without catechesis the majority of Christians would not be able to adapt and express the Gospel in their lives, nor to act in a missionary and apostolic way, nor to successfully face up to the current spiritual and cultural tendencies. Only by starting with a serious, authentic and renewed catechesis, is the Church able to forcefully explain the range of the elements and functions of its evangelical mission.
It is necessary that catechesis as the evangelizing work of the Church, finds its foundation in the nature of Christian revelation and the living Tradition of the Church, as expressed in the Constitution Dei Verbum of Vatican Council II.
When catechesis places itself in this perspective, it inspires the adoration and together with it, the admiration and the wonder in the presence of God. With the strength of its witness, it speaks of God to give glory to Him. This is the source of praise, the action of grace and supplication. Here initiation is rooted in the listening and the obedience to the Word of God, to prayer and liturgy. Also from this arises a life corresponding to God’s will. When catechesis is based on this, the desire for God is born in the heart of man, the search for Him, contemplation of His Face, which is the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ, the joyous experience of being with Him, He who is Love, contemplated in His Incarnated Word and to live in accordance with Him in love and walking in hope.
[Original text: Spanish]