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SYNOD-OUELLET Jan-14-2008 (370 words) xxxi

Pope names Quebec cardinal recording secretary of October synod

By John Thavis
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI appointed Quebec Cardinal Marc Ouellet as the recording secretary for the world Synod of Bishops on the Bible next fall.

The pope also named a special secretary for the Oct. 5-26 assembly: Bishop Wilhelm Egger of Bolzano-Bressanone, Italy. Bishop Egger is a past president of the Catholic Biblical Federation.

The Vatican announced the appointments Jan. 12. The synod will bring together some 250 bishops to discuss the theme "The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church."

As recording secretary or relator, Cardinal Ouellet will have the task of preparing two reports that synthesize synod issues. One is presented at the opening of the synod; the other is written after speeches by bishops and is meant to reflect the assembly's discussion.

He also oversees the preparation of the synod's final recommendations or propositions. The special secretary assists the recording secretary.

Cardinal Ouellet, 63, had a key role in the last Synod of Bishops, held in 2005 and focusing on the Eucharist. A papal appointee to the assembly, he was elected by his synod peers as chairman of the committee that drafted the final message to the world and was also elected to the council charged with following up on the synod's results.

Cardinal Ouellet, a member of the Sulpician order, taught theology for several years in Rome and worked for one year as secretary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He was named archbishop of Quebec in 2002. He is fluent in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

Archbishop Nikola Eterovic, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, said a preparatory council would meet Jan. 21-22 to consider the responses of 113 bishops' conferences to the synod's outline. The synod's working document will then be prepared, he told the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano.

Archbishop Eterovic said the synod's biblical theme had already prompted great interest and enthusiasm among bishops and local church communities. One sign was the flowering of local initiatives, including Bible study programs, he said.

The archbishop said that among the potential themes to be explored by the synod is the relationship between Scripture and science. He did not elaborate.


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