VATICAN CITY, OCT 1, 1998 (VIS) - John Paul II this morning addressed those taking part in the plenary session of the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, led by its prefect, Cardinal Achille Silvestrini.
The Pope said that "pastors of the Latin church are above all invited to deepen their awareness of the life and heritage of the Eastern Catholic Churches." In the same way, they should become "promoters and defenders of the right of the Eastern faithful to live and pray according to the tradition received from the Fathers of their own Church." Furthermore, "the pastors of the Eastern Churches will not cease to take care of the faithful who have left their native countries."
The Holy Father then offered some suggestions in relation to the work of the Congregation in the coming years. Concretely, he said, "it is called to help and support Eastern Catholic communities" by formulating general recommendations which each one will carefully prepare and adapt according to their situation.
What is more, he added, the dicastery "will give some general guidelines which may help the Churches to formulate their own 'Ratio Studiorum'. The preparation of a Catechism Directory which 'takes into account the special nature of the Eastern Churches' would also be useful."
The Pope highlighted the importance of favoring in the Eastern Churches the "restoration of traditional forms of religious life, particularly monasticism."
Lastly, he encouraged the creation of opportunities for meeting and collaboration at different levels. Thus, he expressed the hope that the meeting between patriarchs and bishops of the Middle East, scheduled for 1999, might bear abundant fruit.
AG/EASTERN CHURCHES/SILVESTRINI VIS 981001 (280)