What the Synod Has Been Talking About

Interview with Mexican Archbishop Morales Reyes

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 24, 2001 (Zenit.org).- Archbishop Luis Morales Reyes, archbishop of San Luis Potosi and president of the Mexican episcopal conference, spoke this week with reporters and ZENIT about the Synod of Bishops. The synod ends Saturday. Following is a résumé of the interview.



--Q: Your Excellency, can you summarize the important topics of the Synod of Bishops?

--Archbishop Morales Reyes: I think there are five important topics: the bishop and his spiritual life; the bishop and his ministry; the bishop in his relation with the universal Church; the bishop in his particular Church; and the bishop in face of the great threats and challenges of today´s world: peace, reconciliation, poverty, justice, migrants, and, of course, the media.

--Q: What was the principal theme of all the proposals made by the bishops in this synod?

--Archbishop Morales Reyes: The theme of hope -- how the bishop can give hope to the world beginning with the proclamation the Person and Gospel of Jesus Christ. There were many details, but the issue of hope and the Gospel is a résumé of this synod.

--Q: And the topic of communion?

--Archbishop Morales Reyes: Indeed, there was quite a bit of talk on the subject of intra-ecclesial communion as a source of hope for the world and the Church.

--Q: There were topics repeatedly addressed by all of you, such as collegiality.

--Archbishop Morales Reyes: We bishops must be able to live in communion and collegiality, exchanging gifts, goods, caring for the poor, and the poorest dioceses. There should be an exchange of goods between Churches that are better off economically and those that are poorer. Support should no longer be a matter of words but a real exchange of goods.

--Q: Are such endeavors being implemented at this moment?

--Archbishop Morales Reyes: It is already happening in Mexico and the American continent, as it is in Europe and Africa. Certainly between North America and South America, this exchange is already taking place as patronage, through human and economic resources, in support of poorer Churches. Latin America is contributing human resources to the United States with immigrants; they contribute economic goods to us. This is the exchange.

--Q: Will this exchange make our Churches dependent?

--Archbishop Morales Reyes: I don´t see it like this. There is a situation of respect in this exchange. We are in the framework of what the Pope called the globalization of solidarity: The poor Churches contribute spiritual goods, and the wealthy material goods. Of course, we must overcome every form of dependence, helping poor Churches to become self-sufficient.

--Q: Does the situation of the Church in Latin America continue to make it the continent of hope?

--Archbishop Morales Reyes: Yes, I think so. It is a dynamic and creative Church. For example, in CELAM there are close to 30 areas of study and reflection; documents and activities that reflect the inner nerve of the Latin American Church, which are being taken into account by Europe in addressing the challenges of the modern world.

--Q: Does economic poverty limit pastoral action very much?

--Archbishop Morales Reyes: I think that economic poverty does affect the development of particular Churches but, on the other hand, poverty gives greater liberty, places one closer to the Gospel, makes one go to the essence of the Gospel, to the Person of Jesus.

Churches must not get distracted attending to material goods but must promote their pastoral work, looking for ways to proclaim Jesus Christ. I think poverty makes the particular Churches of Latin America freer; they are freer in face of the powers of this world, the goods of this world; and this is a richness we have.

--Q: Returning to the Synod of Bishops, we are very surprised that, in addition to the topic of poverty, attention was given to topics that could have gone unnoticed, such as the preferential treatment of bishops emeritus, for example.

--Archbishop Morales Reyes: I agree. The topic of bishops emeritus is very important. Of the 4,500 bishops in the world, 1,500 are bishops emeritus.

They need human, economic, psychological and spiritual attention that must be given to them. And, as a result of the synod, the treatment of the emeritus is going to improve substantially. Of course, there is no change either in the election of the bishop or in the age of their retirement.

--Q: You dined with the Pope on Oct. 12. What is your impression, humanly speaking?

--Archbishop Morales Reyes: That of a very lucid man, perfectly balanced, very sharp, and with an enormous capacity to listen to others. We spoke with him in Spanish and Italian. He speaks Spanish very well. I sat on his left and he certainly ate well and did not seem exhausted.

He is a man who admires us, who very much loves the bishops, who is energized by his meeting with brother bishops. He wants to give his all to encourage the Church and us, the bishops.

He is very concerned about the international situation, as we bishops are. This is why, in our final message we appeal for consensus, dialogue between countries, international agreement, the search for the causes of terrorism. The Church´s position is very clear: pro peace and justice.