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31 bishops sign petition for Vatican III

31 bishops, including a cardinal and a senior member of the Roman curia, have signed a petition asking John Paul II to convene a new ecumenical council, according to a report in the National Catholic Reporter.

"A new council would help the Catholic church respond evangelically, in a spirit of dialogue, in close collaboration with the other Christian churches and religions, to the grave challenges facing humanity, especially persons in situations of extreme poverty in a rapidly transforming and increasingly more interconnected world," the petition reads.

The last ecumenical council was the Second Vatican Council of 1962-65.

"We propose a sufficient time scale and appropriate methodology so that the community of believers have ample opportunity to offer their reflections on issues that are important and urgent for them and that their contribution be the material for debate and decisions by the council," the petition says.

The petition drive is being coordinated by a group called the "Information and Mediation Service," headquartered in Madrid, Spain, though the 31 bishops who have signed the petition are presented as the "convokers" of the campaign. Organizers say they intend to collect signatures through the end of 2003, at which time they will present the results to the pope.

Among the initial signatories are 31 bishops, 23 of them from Brazil. The others come from Bolivia, Japan, Ecuador, Argentina, Peru, Guatemala and Mexico. The group includes 12 retired bishops. The highest ranking prelate to sign on is Cardinal Paulo Evaristo Arns, retired archbishop of São Paulo, Brazil.

Towards a New Council: Petition to Pope


14 May 2002