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2 March 1982
In early February, Cardinal Suenens of Brussels advised us of his decision to resign as Episcopal Advisor to the International Council of the Catholic Charismatic renewal. Cardinal Suenens has served as Episcopal Advisor to the International Office since it moved to Brussels, Belgium, in August, 1976, and to the International Council since it came into existence during the International Leaders’ Conference of Dublin, in June, 1978. Cardinal Suenens accepted these responsibilities to fulfill the wishes of Pope Paul VI that he pastor the Renewal, “so that it could fulfill the hopes the Church had for it”. Later the Pope wrote to Cardinal Suenens these words, “We convey to you Our pleasure at the attentive care with which you have watched after this Movement to assure its full integration into the Life of the Catholic Church. We are happy to tell you how much We appreciate this effort”. Both Pope John Paul I and John Paul II expressed the same appreciation for the Cardinal’s role, and asked him to continue in it. Now, in telling of his resignation, Cardinal Suenens explained, “This July I will be celebrating my 78th birthday, and I feel that the time has come to make my retirement more of a reality”. Cardinal Suenens, who has written over thirty books, and will soon be publishing another on prayers of deliverance, is still far from complete retirement. But he did feel that he could no longer carry the responsibility of being the official Episcopal Advisor to the Renewal, attending Council meetings, and so forth. In a letter sent by the International Council and signed by all nine members this resignation was sadly accepted, and among other things the Council wrote the following: “In losing you as Episcopal Advisor, we do not wish to feel that we are in any way losing your vital and highly appreciated friendship. We are deeply grateful to God Himself for calling you to play such a significant and unforgettable role in the history of the Catholic Charismatic renewal, and are grateful to you for your willingness to continue to collaborate with us, though now in a less official manner. We understand that though your travels become more limited, you will never retire from your inextinguishable interest and total dedication to the needs of the Church. We ask Mary, Our Mother, whom you love and have honored so much, to continue to bless you in everyday, but especially with good health and many more years.” Writing this, the Council knew that hundreds of thousands added their own words of appreciation and promises of prayers. Cardinal Suenens has truly been, and of course remains, a vital figure in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, and we are all deeply grateful for the support and direction he has given us. At the same time we ask prayers for the Holy Spirit to direct the International Council in its search for the successor of this extraordinary friend and leader, Leo Joseph Cardinal Suenens.
Taken from the ICCRS Newsletter, March-April 1982