The recap, by CNS' Jerry Filteau, echoes what several bishops have been saying in the months since the 67 year-old prelate's arrival back in March -- that the good feeling Sambi exudes is unlike that of any nuncio since Pio Laghi two decades ago.
Archbishop Sambi's brief remarks June 15, on the first day of the bishops' three-day spring meeting in Los Angeles, displayed flashes of self-deprecating humor, insight and a focus on current issues in the U.S. church rarely seen in similar addresses by the previous two nuncios to the United States.More recently, some familiar with the nuncio's thinking have briefed that, ostensibly in accord with the mandate of Benedict XVI, he is committed to ensuring that the church's point of departure from the culture must be a positive one full of uplift.
The Vatican representative to Israel and the Palestinian territories before taking up his U.S. post in February, Archbishop Sambi described the U.S. bishops as "a people of great experience, great holiness and also great suffering."
He said he was "not used to speaking" to so many bishops -- nearly 250 gathered for the spring meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops -- but he felt like the donkey who carried Jesus into Jerusalem. "The donkey remained a donkey, but the message was from God," he said.
In all his previous diplomatic posts from the Vatican, he said, he found that what is essential is faith in Jesus and the Gospel message of his resurrection.
"As Christians we have to transform any Way of the Cross, any Calvary, into a moment of resurrection," he said. "This is specific for us as a Christian to make any difficulty a moment of resurrection."
His address at the USCCB seems to reflect that.