Page 1, 17th October 1969

17th October 1969
Page 1
Page 1, 17th October 1969 — Cardinal's plain speaking at the Synod

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People: Paul
Locations: London, Rome


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Cardinal's plain speaking at the Synod

FROM ALAN McELWAIN IN ROME CARDINAL SUENENS of Belgium said in Pope Paul's presence this week: ',`The bishops should work not only under Peter but with Peter." He was addressing the World Synod of Bishops, which is meeting in Rome for two weeks to discuss Papal authority.

At a Mass for the Synod in the Sistine Chapel on Sunday. Pope Paul said he was the first to "honour, defend and promote" the collegial authority of his bishops. But his own supreme authority as head of the Church could never be conditional on theirs.

Cardinal Suenens, on the other hand, said the document before the Synod laid too much stress on the Pope's supreme power. Everyone was agreed about the primacy of the Pope and the collegiality of the bishops, The question was how these responsibilities were to be exercised.

Cardinal Suenens commended Cardinal Heenan's recent article in the London Sunday Tinres in which he said that a great deal needed to be done at the Synod to promote collegiality and restore confidence in the authority of the Church.

"The bishops must trust each other," Cardinal Suenens added. "They should not only assist the Pope, but do so in their own right," Pope Paul, who was warmly greeted by the bishops at each of his Synod appearances, smiled several times during Cardinal Suenen`s address. He heard the cardinal declare that it was time the relationship between the Universal Church and the national churches was made doctrinally clear Should not the bishops have the task of ruling the Universal Church as well as their own dioceses? The schema. Cardinal Suenens said, was too vague on this He suggested that the whole question should he referred to the international Theological Commission, which should include a study of the relationship between the Oriental Church and Rome in its deliberations.

Cardinal Suenens also criticised the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano for considering itself the only orthodox publication. This was a sequel to previous criticism, when the cardinal censured the newspaper for its one-sided reporting of Church controversies.

"If you only hear one bell, you are only hearing one sound." he said on that occasion. "There are times when one prefers to hear a carillon."

Cardinal Heenan also took up this question of communications when on Monday he appealed for an end to the .secrecy shrouding Synod deliberations.

"Today the opinion is diffused worldwide that the episcopal college is aiming to contest the power of the Supreme Pontiff or at least the power of the Roman Curia," he said. We have to avoid such an impression.

"We have, as successors of the Apostles. the duty to be concerned with the prestige of the Church and of the Roman Curia. The time after Ilarnanae Vitae {Pope Paul's encyclical on birth control) has not shown much unity, but rather discord."

Cardinal Heenan said that during the course of history in the Church there had been a different emphasis on collegiality. In the last centuries there had been more emphasis on the jurisdictional power of the Supreme Pontiff. This reached its summit in Vatican Council One and at that time there had been no possibility of also defining the power of the bishops.

Today, the situation was different even to the point that some would make the Pope the Vicar of the Bishops. According to some, episcopal collegiality was not yet mature, to others the time had come to define this issue.

Cardinal Heenan said. however. that it seemed better to limit oneself to concrete and practical questions. trying to resolve the issue "in such a way that charity and unity in the Church will be much better manifested."

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