Pope John Paul II and the Church

By Peter Hebblethwaite | Go to book overview

65
Pope discusses millennium with cardinals
( July 1, 1994) "It is good to be together again," quipped Pope John Paul II at lunch June 14 with the 114 cardinals in Rome for the special consistory, "without having to hold a conclave." That was close to the bone. The unspoken thought was that next time they meet it will be at the conclave to elect his successor.The consistory was called to discuss the papal proposals for the celebration of the year 2000. John Paul revealed that he had personally written a 10,000-word letter issued in advance, described by one U.S. bishop as "off the wall."
Yet he repeated its main themes with even greater emphasis:
The jubilee of the year 2000 is the culminating moment of the church, prepared by 20th century popes and anticipated by Vatican II.
Preparations will include "continental" synods for North and South America, Asia and the Far East.
The composition of a "new martyrology" of 20th century saints, with emphasis on the "younger" churches.
A defense of his canonization policy: He has beatified 596 people and canonized 267 -- more than all his 20th century predecessors combined. He was merely responding to Vatican 11's teaching on the "universal vocation to holiness."
Ecumenism, yes, but between "the Catholic West and the Orthodox East. . . . We cannot present ourselves divided before the lord of history in the year 2000." By ordaining women, the Anglicans have "indubitably created an obstacle to unity."
The ecumenical movement is not stalled. The proof. During the way of the cross on Good Friday he had used prayers composed by Bartholomew, the ecumenical patriarch of Constantinople.
The church needs metanoia, defined as "the discernment of its historical failings and the way its children have fallen short of the gospel."

-279-

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