CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Cardinal Tong president of synod

HONG KONG (SE): John Cardinal Tong Hon has been appointed as one of the three president delegates to the upcoming Synod of Bishops scheduled to take place in the Vatican from October 7 to 28.

The bishop of Hong Kong will be joined in the role by the archbishop of Guadalajara in Mexico, Francisco Cardinal Robles Ortega; and the archbishop of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Laurent Cardinal Monsengwo Pasinya, the Vatican Information Service reported on July 2.

The new evangelisation for the transmission of the Christian faith has been set as the theme for the upcoming synod and the choice of the three cardinals from the non-western continents of Africa, Latin America and Asia signals a recognition in the Vatican of the demographic spread of Catholic people in the world today.

The rapporteur for the synod will be the archbishop of Washington DC in the United States of America, Donald Cardinal Wuerl; and the secretary general, Pierre-Marie Cardinal Carre, from Montpellier in France, giving the top organisational echelon a global representation.

The Vatican press office pointed out that someone has been chosen from each of five continents.

Pope Benedict XVI has frequently expressed his concern over what he calls the crisis of faith and the decline of Christian values in the west and made new evangelisation the number one priority of his pontificate.

In 2010, he created a new post in the Vatican dedicated to exploring ways of spreading the faith in what are considered traditional Catholic or Christian cultures.

However, the decline is not only happening in the west, as the largest Church in the world, Brazil, reported that the 2010 census shows that only 65 per cent of its population identified itself as Catholic, compared with 74 per cent in 2000 and 92 per cent in 1970.

The job of the delegate presidents is to guide the synod, making sure that correct procedures are followed, as well as sign off on its final documents.

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