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Participation in the Synod of Bishops'Second Special Assembly for Europe

Bishop Echevarría participated, as a member designated by the Holy Father, in the Synod of Bishops’ Second Special Assembly for Europe, which was held in Rome from October 1 to 23. Its theme was “Jesus, Alive in his Church, a Fount of Hope for Europe.”

The Prelate of Opus Dei intervened in the fourth general session, on October 4. A synopsis of his address was published by L’Osservatore Romano with the title: “Showing Europe the Church’s true face.”

The text which appeared in the English-language edition of the same publication was as follows:

“Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the message of eternal life and we believe; we have come to know that you are the Holy One of God (Jn 6:68). Today we have to stress this great message of faith and hope with renewed effort, before all men and women who live in Europe. For this, the Church must offer first of all a clear example of full communion in faith, in worship and in discipline.

“As the General Report underlinded with force and clarity, only from faith and a moral acceptance without reservations can one undertake the new evangelization that our continent is waiting for. As a result, our pastoral responsibility becomes greater in relation to the credibility of the Church, where innate and indelible theological qualities must stand out, expressing that intimate sacramental condition: unity, sanctity, catholicity and apostolicity.

“Church unity requires the bonds of communion to be manifest; that is to say, the profession of the same faith, the common celebration of the sacraments, and the apostolic succession through the sacrament of Orders. The evidence of unity without shadows in each local Church, of the local Churches amongst themselves, and of all of these with the Church of Rome, attracts people of good will and promotes an even more intense unity. Unfortunately, the contrary is also true, and this must stimulate our feeling of responsibility.

“The sanctity of the Church must show itself in its determined fight against personal sin and its individual and social consequences. Helping the lay faithful in this struggle is of great pastoral importance, since if the meaning of sin is weak in their consciences, the whole evangelizing testimony of the Church itself before society is weakened. In addition, special importance should be given to the pastoral care of the sacrament of penance.

“The Catholicity and apostolicity of the Church, which clearly refer to the mission of the Church and its basis in the succession, must show themselves also as “Romanness” — if I may be allowed to express myself in this way — intended as a profound feeling of orientation and of respectful attention towards the See of Peter. The more that this “Romanness” is felt in the daily lives of priests and of the other lay faithful, the more effective will be our contribution towards the building up of the Church in Europe and, from Europe, in the whole world.”

Romana, No. 29, July-December 1999, pag. 226-227.