.- From February 15 to 17, a meeting of Pontifical representatives to Latin America will be held in the Vatican. The gathering has been called by Cardinal Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone S.D.B., in preparation for the Fifth General Assembly of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM), due to be celebrated in Aparecida, Brazil from May 13 to 31.
According to a communiqué made public today, following an introduction by Cardinal Bertone, the 20 pontifical representatives, together with Archbishops Leonardo Sandri, substitute for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State, and Dominique Mamberti, Secretary for Relations with States, will exchange information and reflect upon the social, religious, and ecclesial situation in Latin America.
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, will speak about the fifth general assembly of CELAM. Cardinal Re is one of three cardinals appointed by the Pope to preside at the forthcoming CELAM meeting, the other two being Cardinals Francisco Javier Errazuriz Ossa, Archbishop of Santiago de Chile, and Geraldo Majella Agnelo, Archbishop of Sao Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, who are also due to speak at the current meeting.
Pope Benedict himself will inaugurate the General Assembly in Brazil. It will be this Pope’s first visit to the America’s since his election.
For his part Cardinal Claudio Hummes O.F.M., prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, will present some reflections on the situation of the clergy and sects. Moreover the Pontifical representatives will have the opportunity to study materials prepared by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the Congregation for Catholic Education, and by the Pontifical Councils for the Family, "Justice and Peace," and for Promoting Christian Unity.
The meeting will come to an end on Saturday, when the participants will be received in audience by the Pope.