Archbishop of Canterbury Address Synod of Bishops

His Grace, Dr. Rowan Williams Says Contemplation is 'Key to Humanity'

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By Junno Arocho

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 11, 2012 (Zenit.org).- His Grace, Dr. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury addressed the Synod of Bishops yesterday at the Vatican. Archbishop Williams focused his address on the correlation between contemplation and the New Evangelization which would aid all people in rediscovering the beauty of Christian faith.  

Archbishop Williams expressed his gratitude to the Holy Father's invitation to speak at the Synod, while reflecting on the Second Vatican Council, "which did so much for the health of the Church and helped the Church to recover so much of the energy needed to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ effectively in our age."

"The Council was, in so many ways, a rediscovery of evangelistic concern and passion, focused not only on the renewal of the Church's own life but on its credibility in the world. Texts such as Lumen Gentium and Gaudium et Spes laid out a fresh and joyful vision of how the unchanging reality of Christ living in his Body on earth through the gift of the Holy Spirit might speak in new words to the society of our age and even to those of other faiths, he said.

Reflecting on the writings of well-known Catholic theologians from Vatican II, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke in length about the need of contemplation, saying that it is the key to humanity viewing the world in freedom – "freedom from self-oriented, acquisitive habits and the distorted understanding that comes from them."

"To put it boldly, contemplation is the only ultimate answer to the unreal and insane world that our financial systems and our advertising culture and our chaotic and unexamined emotions encourage us to inhabit, he said.  The Anglican prelate emphasize that learning contemplative practice is revolutionary, one that allows all to live in truth, honesty, and love.

'Renewed Religious Communities

Archbishop Williams focused on the importance of the new ecclesial realities within the Church that aid in reaching out to those "who know little and care less about the institutions and hierarchies of the Church."

The archbishop also said that such communities are crucial in reaching out to those who have abandoned the Church. Communities such as Taizé, Sant' Egidio, Focolare, and Communion and Liberation "make space for a profounder human vision because in their various ways all of them offer a discipline of personal and common life that is about letting the reality of Jesus come alive in us."

Archbishop Williams concluded his addressing, stating his hope that the Synod of Bishops would allow all present to not lose sight of the importance their "diverse ministries" in reaching out to those far from the Church with the Gospel of Christ.

"So I wish you joy in these discussions - not simply clarity or effectiveness in planning, but joy in the promise of the vision of Christ's face, and in the foreshadowing of that fulfillment in the joy of communion with each other here and now," he said.