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Argentinian Cardinal recommends communion as mark of Church government

Speaking of relations between bishops and Rome, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, told the current World Synod of Bishops at the Vatican that the communion is a more appropriate model than subsidiarity.

On Thursday, Cardinal Bergoglio, the assistant general relator of the Synod of Bishops, was summarising the large number of addresses delivered during the first two weeks of the Synod. The Synod is examining the role of the bishop of the new millennium.

Addressing 300 participants, including Pope John Paul II, the Argentine cardinal pointed out that communion is the fundamental challenge facing the apostles' successors. The strength of the Church, he said, is in communion; its weakness, in divisions and clashes.

Communion with God, communion with the universal Church, communion with the local Church, and service of the world were the chapter headings of the cardinal's summary, which he gave in Latin.

He substituted for Cardinal Edward Egan, general relator of the synod, who had returned to his Archdiocese of New York for a few days to be with the faithful affected by the 11 September terrorist attacks.

The summary stressed the need for a bishop to be in "communion with the Lord". The bishop, he said, must be holy, engaged in continuous formation, and witness with the "poverty" of his life to the Kingdom, a witness exacted by today's world.

Cardinal Bergoglio noted that some synod bishops mentioned the principle of subsidiarity as the criterion to regulate relations between the Pope, the Roman Curia, the episcopal conferences and the dioceses. However, quoting the magisterium of recent Popes, the cardinal explained that this sociological principle cannot be univocally applied to the life of the Church. There must be more talk of "communion" than "subsidiarity", he said.