16: Synod, Episcopal Conferences, and Collegiality


Starting from the deliberations of the Second Vatican Council on the Church Ministry and its performance in collegiality, Cardinal Bernardin carries on a study about its manifold aspects. The diversities of the Catholic Church are put forward as a source of richness; its unity must be firmly established and maintained. The balance between diversity and unity is given by collegiality. If the duties of the Church are performed through the exercise of collegiality, unity and diversities are maintained and harmonized. If there is an element that can be defined as constant and overwhelming in Bernardin's work, that element is collegiality. He did a great job for the church in the United States. He linked it deeply with Roman authorities and taught the latter not to fear it as a superpower. His work helped the Conference of American Bishops become a real instrument of effective weight in the American social and Catholic life. He did all this by constantly promoting the exercise of collegiality and its application in every decision and in every matter. If the U.S. Church is what it is today, this is also thanks to Bernardin's dedication to and promotion of collegiality.