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The 64th CEI general assembly
“Present day challenges can’t be addressed with simplistic replies”. In this framework, “job access is acknowledged as a priority, which entails the need for signs enabling the youth to overcome ongoing precariousness”, underline Italian bishops in the final statement of the 64th General Assembly of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, gathered in the Synod Hall, Vatican City, on May 21-15.
Responding to the crisis. The assembly, states the communiqué, pointed out that “long before the need for economic reforms” there is a need for “an authentic, collective, cultural reconsideration”. “To an epochal crisis it is necessary to respond with an equally epochal change”, which is first of all a change in mentality. The episcopate underlined that this entails “overcoming individualism and utilitarianism”. If a cycle was definitely interrupted, “the new one is bound to be different” and it will require “ideas, projects, and behaviours in line with the new condition”. In the awareness that “there is the need for intelligence, courage and perseverance in the proposal of concrete, effective and viable options”, the pastors of the Italian Church renewed their commitment “to do their their share fully”. A fundamental part of this commitment is “the protection and the promotion of the family”.
Formation and testimony. In order to counter “the worrying crisis in faith”, Italian bishops highlighted the need “to promote formation, enhancing the content of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, understood as a way to strongly recover Vatican II Council teaching”. In order to prevent Christian faith from becoming evanescent, it is necessary “to find the ways to testify that being believers creates the best conditions for a full and successful life, integrated within an elevating and eternal perspective”. The bishops delved into the theme of the ongoing year in their study groups, debates and assembly conclusions, linked to “the formation of adults and of the family”. This work of discernment was introduced by an address themed: “Adults inside the community: mature in faith and witnesses of humanity”. In the framework of the path promoted by the CEI presidency during this year on themes regarding the social doctrine of the Church, a second moment of reflection focused on their topical relevance and importance.
Addressed questions. In bringing to completion the work conducted in the past two general assemblies, the bishops examined and approved the last part of the third Italian edition of the Roman Missal. In the assembly were presented and made public the “Guidelines for cases of sexual abuse on minors by clerics”, in line with the indications of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The assembly then tackled legal and administrative items on the agenda, namely, the presentation and approval of CEI final balance for the year 2011, along with the repartition of sums from the 8x1000 tax deductions for the year 2012 and the presentation of the final balance of the Central Institute for the Sustenance of the Clergy for the year 2011. Some communications focused on the pastoral care of the migrants, public communication and the study seminar in the Year of the Faith.
The primacy of the faith. The address by the Holy Father at the 64th General Assembly of Thursday May 24, states the communiqué, on the one side highlighted full harmony with Pontifical Magisterium and the contents of the prolusion by cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, CEI president; on the other, in many ways it summarised the debate that animated the works of the assembly “that are rooted in the primacy of the faith”.
Overcoming a burdensome situation. During the final press conference cardinal Bagnasco, answering a question on work emergency, one of the central themes of his prolusion, remarked: “on the political plane a path has been undertaken which says that we ought to address the serious situation of the country and notably, of the entire Western world, with the measures we are all familiar with”. Now “it is necessary that those with national responsibilities – at any level, not only political but also economic, financial, and all of us in our daily lives – decide for their own actions, in order to rapidly overcome a situation that weighs heavily on people”.