Vatican City (Fides Service) – At the end of the special Symposium organised by College of Cardinals to mark the 25th year of Pope John Paul II’s pontificate, on Saturday 18 October the Pope received in audience the participants, cardinals, patriarchs, presidents of Bishops’ Conferences. The Holy Father thanked his “beloved brothers in the College of Cardinals” for their closeness and not only on this occasion: “I remember the many times that you have helped me with your advice to better understand important matters regarding the Church and humanity”.
The Pope then recalled the frantic search for values of men and women today and the profound changes in the world: “Courage to proclaim the Gospel must never fail; indeed until our last breath this must be our principle commitment, undertaken with ever new dedication. The one and only Gospel proclaimed with one heart and one mind: this is Christ’s commandment; this is what is asked of us as individuals and as a college by the Church of today and of all times; this is what is expected of us by men and women today ”. The Holy Father stressed the need for the Cardinals to strive for “deep unity not limited to collegial affection but founded on full doctrinal agreement fostering to harmonious understanding at the operate level”. The Lord “sent us into the world as an undivided college which must bear witness with one voice to His person, His word, His mystery. On this depends our credibility” he said urging those present to “show the resplendent face of a Church which loves the poor, which is simple and takes the defence of the weakest” following the example of Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
“Coming from every continent you, as Cardinals belonging by special title to the venerable Church in Rome, can be of valid support for the Successor of Peter in the fulfilment of his mission” said the Pope asking them to “strive constantly to be ever more faithful to God and to his Church. Holiness in fact is the secret of evangelisation and all authentic pastoral renewal”.
In an introductory address at the beginning of the audience Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Dean of the College of Cardinals, recalled that in these 25 years Pope John Paul II “has guided us with the joy of the faith, with the dauntless courage of hope and with the enthusiasm of love. He helped us to see the light of God despite the many clouds so that the weakness of our faith would not prevail”. As a pilgrim of the Gospel the Pope has crossed the continents “carrying the proclamation of Christ, the proclamation of the Kingdom of God, the proclamation of forgiveness, of love and of peace”. He has reminded everyone of the fundamental human values, he has reached out to young people especially and given attention to the sick and the suffering. He has launched heartfelt appeals for the goods of the earth to be equally shared and for the poor to be given love and justice. He did everything possible to make believers in Christ become one, he has gone out to people of other religions. He has become for all humanity, beyond barriers and divisions, a great messenger of peace.
“Holy Father, - the Cardinal concluded - the College of Cardinals, at the end of this symposium, during which it recalled only some aspects of the 25 years of your pontificate so far, desires unanimously to reaffirm its filial devotion to your person and its faithful and total adhesion to your supreme Magisterium as shepherd of the universal Church.