Pope Hopes Synod of Bishops Ignites Missionary Zeal

Vatican II Decree ´Christus Dominus´ a Key Guide

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CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 9, 2001 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II hopes that the upcoming Synod of Bishops impels prelates to be committed to the Church´s missionary activity.



The Holy Father expressed this hope today, before praying the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered at the papal summer residence southeast of Rome.

The General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, the 10th since the end of the Second Vatican Council, will have as its motto: "The Bishop: Servant of the Gospel of Jesus Christ for the Hope of the World." The Sept. 30-to-Oct. 27 synod is expected to draw 300 participants.

Along with the synods on the role of the laity (1987), priestly formation (1990) and consecrated life (1994), the upcoming event is the culmination of an endeavor to promote the reforms of Vatican II.

In fact, "the principal point of reference of the synod´s work," the Pope said today, "will be Vatican Council II, which has amply illustrated the pastoral office of the pastors in the decree ´Christus Dominus.´"

"The conciliar teaching will be reread in light of the last decades and, especially, in the perspective of the new evangelization, as the topic itself suggests," the Holy Father added.

The synod´s working document fundamentally poses one question: What should the bishop of the third millennium be like?

The text offers proposals of the various dioceses, episcopal conferences and religious congregations, in response to a questionnaire distributed by the synod´s secretariat in 1998.

The Pope conclude: "´Put out into the deep,´ which I have proposed as the motto for the beginning of the new millennium, is addressed first of all to bishops, the Apostles´ successors, and calls them to be faithfullly committed to this new missionary stage of the Church."