Every 5 years a bishop is to make a visit to the Eternal City first to pray at the tombs of Saints Peter and Paul and secondly to make a report to the Pope (and his curia). The church-term for such a meeting is called the “ad limina” — to the threshold of the apostles, the Church, the heartbeat of our faith. It is not a meeting of checking-in with the CEO, CFO and the COO of the company. For a bishop is not a branch manager. This is a gesture of communion between two people who are in love with Christ and His sacrament, the Church; it is a meeting of one pastor meeting the Supreme Pastor, Christ, through the ministry of the See of Peter. It is a time to verify the good being done and to get feedback about what more needs to be done for the good of the faithful. With Benedict’s age I think the 5-year meeting is now about every 7 years.
In recent weeks, Benedict has been meeting with Indonesian bishops. Part of his concluding address to the latest group has an encouragement to advocate inter-religious dialogue. As you can tell, Pope Benedict XVI is a pope of dialogue. The relevant paragraph follows:
I can only encourage you in your continuing efforts to promote and sustain interreligious dialogue in your nation. Your country, so rich in its cultural diversity and possessed of a large population, is home to significant numbers of followers of various religious traditions. Thus, the people of Indonesia are well-placed to make important contributions to the quest for peace and understanding among the peoples of the world. Your participation in this great enterprise is decisive, and so I urge you, dear brothers, to ensure that those whom you shepherd know that they, as Christians, are to be agents of peace, perseverance and charity. The Church is called to follow her Divine Master, who unites all things in himself, and to witness to that peace which only he can give. This is the precious fruit of charity in him who, suffering unjustly, gave us his life and taught us to respond in all situations with forgiveness, mercy and love in truth. Believers in Christ, rooted in charity, ought to be committed to dialogue with other religions, respecting mutual differences. Common endeavors for the upbuilding of society will be of great value when they strengthen friendships and overcome misunderstanding or distrust. I have confidence that you and the priests, religious and laity of your Dioceses will continue to bear witness to the image and likeness of God in each man, woman and child, regardless of their faith, by encouraging everyone to be open to dialogue in the service of peace and harmony. By doing everything possible to ensure that the rights of minorities in your country are respected, you further the cause of tolerance and mutual harmony in your country and beyond.