Synod Proposes Christian Hope in Times of Terrorism

But Final Message Insists: "Drastic Moral Change Is Required"

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 26, 2001 (Zenit.org).- The Synod of Bishops, facing a world convulsed by terrorism, violence and "the structures of sin," struck a note of hope, insisting that evil does not have the last word.



The four-week-long synod, which ends Saturday, "reviewed in turn the tragedies and wonders throughout the world today," the concluding message states. "We found ourselves face to face with the ´mysterium iniquitatis´ and the ´mysterium pietatis.´"

The final message of the synodal assembly, distributed today by the Vatican Press Office, was voted on and approved Thursday.

The opening lines of the text show how this synod, which reflected on the figure of the bishop, was profoundly affected by the new international situation in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

"We absolutely condemn terrorism, which nothing can justify," the final message states. It promises the prayers of the assembly and of John Paul II not only for the victims of the attacks against the United States, but for "all the other victims of terrorism in the world."

Along with terrorism, the synod denounces the existence of "structures of sin." Specifically, the message states that "80% of the population of our planet survives on only 20% of its income," while "1.2 billion people ´live´ on less than $1 a day!"

"Some endemic evils, when they are too long ignored, can produce despair in entire populations," the message states.

"How can we keep silent when confronted by the enduring drama of hunger and extreme poverty, in an age when humanity, more than ever, has the capacity for a just sharing of resources?" the document asks.

It continues: "Perhaps what most upsets us, as pastors, is the contempt for human life, from conception to death, as well as the breakdown of the family. The Church´s ´No´ to abortion and euthanasia is a ´Yes´ to life, a ´Yes´ to the fundamental goodness of creation.

"A drastic moral change is required. Today the social teaching of the Church has a relevance which we cannot overemphasize. As bishops, we commit ourselves to making this teaching better known in our local churches."

In a word, the synod is a call to hope. "While from a human point of view, the power of evil often seems to triumph, in the eyes of faith the loving mercy of God immeasurably prevails," the bishops emphasize.

"Therefore we should not allow ourselves to be intimidated by those doctrines which deny the existence of the living God and which strive, in more or less cunning ways, to undermine, parody or deride Christian hope," they say. "In the joy of the Spirit we profess: ´Christ is truly risen.´ In his glorified humanity, he has opened the prospect of eternal life for all those who accept the grace of conversion."