A DAY OF REFLECTION AND PRAYER FOR THE COLLEGE OF CARDINALS ON THE OCCASION OF THE CONCISTORY - AFTERNOON SESSION, 17.02.2012
This afternoon, following the celebration of Vespers, the cardinals present continued to make their contributions. Counting both the morning and afternoon sessions, a total of twenty-seven talks were given, touching upon a wide range of subjects associated with new evangelisation and the Year of Faith.
Attention was given to the problems of evangelisation in various parts of the world and in different cultures: The increasing numbers of Christians in China despite difficulties; inter-religious dialogue and the struggle against poverty in India; the trials faced by Christians in the countries of the Middle East; the importance of popular religiosity for evangelisation in Latin America; the challenge of secularism which tends to marginalise religion from social life in the West; challenges and difficulties as well as encouraging prospects and events that are signs of hope, such as new and vivacious ecclesiastical experiences like World Youth Days and International Eucharistic Congresses.
Discussion also focused on the educational emergency, the renewal of catechesis, the transmission of faith to young people, the formation of evangelisers (lay people, religious and priests), and the importance of a mature faith capable of witness and discernment before the realities of today's world.
Suggestions were made for the forthcoming Year of Faith. These included in-depth analyses to accompany the various periods of the liturgical year, encouraging pilgrimages to the Holy Land and to Rome, and favouring new forms of popular mission.
Emphasis was given to the ecumenical commitment of Christians in announcing their shared faith in Christ, the validity of Vatican Council II as a compass to guide the Church's journey today, the importance of bearing witness to Christian joy and sanctity, and the enduring fascination of the saints.
Before praying the Angelus at around 7 p.m., the Holy Father concluded the session with some words of his own. He thanked the relators - describing the talk of cardinal-designate Archbishop Timothy Dolan as "stimulating, joyful and profound", and that of Archbishop Fisichella as "a rich contribution of ideas and initiatives" - and all the participants. Their words had represented a "broad mosaic of ideas and proposals", he said. The Pope also highlighted the importance Vatican Council II has for "rediscovering of the contemporary importance of Jesus and the faith". He underlined the need for an authentic renewal of catechesis in order to highlight its precious content of truth, and to react against what has been defined as "religious illiteracy". He reaffirmed the need for profound conviction of the truth of God's revelation in His Son Jesus Christ, because "if there is no truth, we have no compass and do not know where to go", and "only if there is truth can life be rich and beautiful". Without this conviction, "we cannot re-evangelise humankind today".
Since God is love, truth is expressed in charity, and charity in turn "reveals the truth". The Pope concluded by saying that the motto of the Year of Faith could be summarised in the words: "Living truth in charity".