Day 3: Bishop Berg's Ad Limina Visit

Vatican City, February 12, 2020: Bishop Berg and the bishops of Region XIII are officially halfway through their 2020 Ad Limina Visit. While there was much anticipation around the release of Pope Francis’s post-Amazon Synod exhortation and the Holy Father’s Wednesday General Audience, these did not take away the attention of Bishop Berg and the other bishops from their meetings at the Congregations and the celebration of the Mass at Saint Paul Outside the Walls.

The day began with a meeting at the Congregation for Bishops. According to the governing document Pastor Bonus (Art. 75-82), the Congregation is responsible for: 

  • Examining what pertains to the establishment and provision of particular Churches and to the exercise of the episcopal office in the Latin Church.
  • Dealing with everything concerning the constitution, division, union, suppression, and other changes of particular Churches and of their groupings. It also erects military ordinariates for the pastoral care of the armed forces.
  • Dealing with everything concerning the appointment of bishops.
  • Dealing with civil governments, either in establishing or modifying particular Churches.
  • The correct exercise of the pastoral function of the bishops, by offering them every kind of assistance. For it is part of its duty to initiate general apostolic visitations where needed, in agreement with the dicasteries concerned and, in the same manner, to evaluate their results and to propose to the Supreme Pontiff the appropriate actions to be taken.
  • Competence over everything involving the Holy See in the matter of personal prelatures.
  • Particular Churches assigned to its care and everything with respect to the ad limina visits.
  • Matters pertaining to the celebration of particular councils as well as the erection of conferences of bishops.

The second and final meeting of the day was at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF). Again, the governing document Pastor Bonus (Art. 48-55), states the CDF is responsible for: 

  • Promoting and safeguarding the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world.
  • Fulfilling its duty of promoting doctrine.
  • Helping the bishops, individually or in groups, in carrying out their office as authentic teachers and doctors of the faith, an office that carries with it the duty of promoting and guarding the integrity of that faith.
  • Safeguarding the truth of faith and the integrity of morals.
  • The duty of requiring that books and other writings touching faith or morals, being published by the Christian faithful, be subjected to prior examination by the competent authority.
  • Examining writings and opinions that seem to be contrary or dangerous to the true faith.
  • Examining offenses against the faith and more serious ones both in behavior or in the celebration of the sacraments which have been reported to it. 
  • Examining whatever concerns the privilege of the faith, both in law and in fact.
  • Documents being published by other dicasteries of the Roman Curia, insofar as they touch on the doctrine of faith or morals.
  • The Pontifical Biblical Commission and the International Theological Commission, which act according to their own approved norms and are presided over by the cardinal prefect of this Congregation.

When Bishop Berg commented on the meetings at these two Congregations, he stated: 

Today was very intense, but it was fruitful. Especially, because I was able to see that the Congregations are working hard for clarification of major issues we are facing in the Church today.

The day ended with Mass celebrated by Bishop Olmsted at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls. Saint Paul’s is one of the four Major Basilicas in Rome and is the home to the tombs of Saint Paul and Saint Stephen. 

In Bishop Olmsted’s homily, he explained: “To be separated from Jesus is hell, heaven is the exact opposite of that. Saint John Paul II said: Nothing so transforms one’s life as a personal encounter with Jesus.” So, if you feel your life needs renewal, a reform, encounter the Lord Jesus Christ. And no one desires that more than Jesus Christ […] God is always seeking us out. He is always drawing to us. He did this especially by becoming human.” 

Following the Mass, Bishop Berg and the bishops of Region XIII, processed to the tomb of Saint Paul to pray. Bishop Berg explained he was deeply moved to concelebrate Mass at the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls and that the faithful people of the Diocese of Pueblo are in his prayers every day. 

Click here for the 2020 Ad Limina Recap. 

Contributor: Amanda Zurface resides in Pueblo, Colorado, where she serves as the Vice-Chancellor for the Diocese of Pueblo. She also serves as the Catholic Content Specialist for Covenant Eyes. Amanda holds a License and MA in Canon Law and a BA in Catholic Theology and Social Justice. She is the co-author of Equipped: Smart Catholic Parenting in a Sexualized CultureConfident: Helping Parents Navigate Online Exposure and Transformed by Beauty.