Posts Tagged synod of bishops
When we cultivate this synodal spirituality, we as a church will be better equipped to discern where the Spirit is leading us and to commit ourselves to those ecclesial reforms which faithful missionary discipleship requires.Richard R. Gaillardetz, “Give Us This Day”
The commitment of Pope Francis to church reform is real and profound but widely misunderstood. Understandably, many of us think about church reform in a strictly institutional key. We want to change structures, laws, and policies in the light of basic Gospel values. Pope Francis is not opposed to structural reform; indeed, he has made considerable progress on that front. But for Francis, reform is not simply a matter of rearranging ecclesial furniture; it is about becoming a different kind of church. And the term he most frequently invokes in describing what that different kind of church looks like is “synodality.”
The word “synod” comes from the Greek synodos and means “a shared journey.” Francis imagines a church bound together as a people on a common journey. What marks that journey is a shared commitment to discipleship, a determination to follow Christ where he leads through the impulse of the Spirit. Consequently, synodality entails a spirituality that attunes us to the gentle voice of the Spirit heard in scripture, tradition, and in the lives of those we accompany along the way. This synodal spirituality has two essential features: vulnerable encounter and openness to conversion.
An authentic synodal spirituality impels us toward an authentic encounter with others. We can grasp something of this spirituality by way of the Hasidic philosopher Martin Buber. Buber contended there was no such thing as an autonomous “I.” We are always implicated in relationships. We spend much of our lives in what he referred to as “I-It” relationships, that is, relationships in which we place people and things in categories that predetermine and constrain how we engage them. So, when I go to a restaurant and order a meal, I am inclined to address the person taking my order as nothing more than a “waiter.” This is natural and often unavoidable but, by placing that person in a predetermined box, much of who they really are is filtered out in advance.
Yet Buber also suggests we are capable of entering into an “I-Thou” relationship. In this relationship, I abandon the categories and presuppositions that predispose me to engage you as “a certain kind of person.” I am invited to simply be present to you in all your marvelously mysterious and idiosyncratic depth. I allow your deepest truth to emerge in our interaction. This relationship is inherently vulnerable as we risk hearing insights and perspectives that may differ from and even challenge our own. Having acknowledged our differences and recognized even deep disagreements, the I-Thou relationship requires a faith that admits there might emerge from our encounter something holy, something of God.
This synodal encounter may also call us to conversion. We may have to abandon the impulse to foreclose honest listening prematurely. We may have to confront a deeply engrained instinct to defend the distinctive attitudes and convictions that mark our particular “tribe,” often at the expense of getting at the deep truth of things. We will have to learn to listen, not for a confirmation of our own “rightness,” but for the gentle voice of the Spirit.
When we cultivate this synodal spirituality, we as a church will be better equipped to discern where the Spirit is leading us and to commit ourselves to those ecclesial reforms which faithful missionary discipleship requires.
Richard R. Gaillardetz is the Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology at Boston College and the author of numerous books, including By What Authority? Most recently, he is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Vatican II.
From the September 2022 issue of Give Us This Day, www.giveusthisday.org (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2022). Used with permission.
Voice of the Faithful has scheduled additional input sessions for the Synod on Synodality for April & May. The Synod is the most significant opportunity ever for the Church’s laity to influence the future of the Church. Anyone interested may note the following points and then register for one Set of two sessions using the links below:
- Each Set will include two sessions.
- Questions in session two follow those of session one in each Set.
- You need register for only one set of sessions to ensure your input.
- Sessions are restricted in size to ensure all can effectively share their experiences.
- Registration for each Set will be closed when Set is full.
- Please feel free to invite friends, neighbors, adult children, and others.
VOTF’s previous sessions ended with Set 9, so these sessions start with Set 10. Set 10 and Set 11 differ from those VOTF usually offers because they are being held on consecutive days instead of on consecutive weeks. This is to avoid holding the second sessions in each of these Sets during Holy Week.
Please note that the final “Submit” button when registering links to the “Synod Overview” document needed to prepare for the questions asked during the sessions. Registration for each Set will be closed when Set is full.
- Session 1 — Wed., Apr. 6, 7:30 p.m. EDT, 6:30 p.m. CDT, 5:30 p.m. MDT, 4:30 p.m. PDT
- Session 2 — Thur., Apr. 7, 7:30 p.m. EDT, 6:30 p.m. CDT, 5:30 p.m. MDT, 4:30 p.m. PDT
- Session 1 — Sat., Apr. 9, 2 p.m. EDT, 1 p.m. CDT, Noon MDT, 11 a.m. PDT
- Session 2 — Sun., Apr.10, 2 p.m. EDT, 1 p.m. Central, Noon MDT, 4 p.m. PDT
- Session 1 — Tues., Apr. 19, 7:30 p.m. EDT, 6:30 p.m. CDT, 5:30 p.m. MDT, 4:30 p.m. PDT
- Session 2 — Tues., Apr. 26, 7:30 p.m. EDT, 6:30 p.m. CDT, 5:30 p.m. MDT, 4:30 p.m. PDT
- Session 1 — Thurs., Apr. 21, 5 p.m. EDT, 4 p.m. CDT, 3 p.m. MDT, 2 p.m. PDT
- Session 2 — Thurs., Apr. 28, 5 p.m. EDT, 4 p.m. CDT, 3 p.m. MDT, 2 p.m. PDT
- Session 1 — Mon., Apr. 25, 7:30 p.m. EDT, 6:30 p.m. CDT, 5:30 p.m. MDT, 4:30 p.m. PDT
- Session 2 — Mon., May 2, 7:30 p.m. EDT, 6:30 p.m. CDT, 5:30 p.m. MDT, 4:30 p.m. PDT
- Session 1 — Wed., Apr. 27, 11 a.m. EDT, 10 a.m. CDT, 9 a.m. MDT, 8 a.m. PDT
- Session 2 — Wed., May 4, 11 a.m. EDT, 10 a.m. CDT, 9 a.m. MDT, 8 a.m. PDT
- Session 1 — Sun., May 1, 4 p.m. EDT, 3 p.m. CDT, 2 p.m. MDT, 1 p.m. PDT
- Session 2 — Sun., May 8, 4 p.m. EDT, 3 p.m. CDT, 2 p.m. MDT, 1 p.m. PDT
- Session 1 — Tues., May 10, 6 p.m. EDT, 5 p.m. CDT, 4 p.m. MDT, 3 p.m. PDT
- Session 2 — Tues., May 17, 6 p.m. EDT, 5 p.m. CDT, 4 p.m. MDT, 3 p.m. PDT
- Session 1 — Thurs., May 12, 11 a. EDT, 10 a.m. CDT, 9 a.m. MDT, 8 a.m. PDT
- Session 2 — Thurs., May 19, 11 a. EDT, 10 a.m. CDT, 9 a.m. MDT, 8 a.m. PDT
- Session 1 — Fri., May 13, 4 p.m. EDT, 3 p.m. CDT, 2 p.m. MDT, 1 p.m. PDT
- Session 2 — Fri., May 20, 4 p.m. EDT, 3 p.m. CDT, 2 p.m. MDT, 1 p.m. PDT
- Session 1 — Sat., May 14, 4 p.m. EDT, 3 p.m. CDT, 2 p.m. MDT, 1 p.m. PDT
- Session 2 — Sat., May 21, 4 p.m. EDT, 3 p.m. CDT, 2 p.m. MDT, 1 p.m. PDT
- Session 1 — Mon., May 16, Noon EDT, 11 a.m. CDT, 10 a.m. MDT, 9 a.m. PDT
- Session 2 — Mon., May 23, Noon EDT, 11 a.m. CDT, 10 a.m. MDT, 9 a.m. PDT
- Session 1 — Wed., May 18, 7:30 p.m. EDT, 6:30 p.m. CDT, 5:30 p.m. MDT, 4:30 p.m. PDT
- Session 2 — Wed., May 25, 7:30 p.m. EDT, 6:30 p.m. CDT, 5:30 p.m. MDT, 4:30 p.m. PDT
- Session 1 — Tues, May 24, 7:30 p.m. EDT, 6:30 p.m. CDT, 5:30 p.m. MDT, 4:30 p.m. PDT
- Session 2 — Tues., May 31, 7:30 p.m. EDT, 6:30 p.m. CDT, 5:30 p.m. MDT, 4:30 p.m. PDT
The Synod is for Mutual Discernment
This is your opportunity to express your hopes, dreams, desires, and, yes, even your concerns for the future of the Catholic Church. We will listen intently to the Holy Spirit and engage in mutual discernment to seek a path forward for our Church. The Synod on Synodality, officially called “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” will provide all people of God with a chance to express how they see the Church becoming the synodal, pastoral, evangelical Church it should be.
VOTF emphasizes that all voices are to be heard for the Synod, even the voices of those who feel uncomfortable talking in a group about their experiences and hopes for the future of the Church. Anyone who would like additional information may email firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail).
Francis is set to open a worldwide synod process. U.S. dioceses don’t seem prepared. / National Catholic Reporter
Although Francis has previously asked for local consultation to occur before other synods during his pontificate, no earlier process has been so wide-ranging.National Catholic Reporter
“With about three weeks to go before Catholic prelates around the world are due to open a first-of-its-kind grassroots consultation period as part of an expanded vision for the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops, church officials across the U.S. are still figuring out exactly what that process will look like.
“A range of dioceses contacted by NCR in recent weeks said they were still working out the details for the consultation period and would be in a better position to comment on the synod in coming weeks, after Pope Francis formally opens the two-year synod process with a ceremony in Rome on Oct. 9.
“Officials who agreed to interviews described plans that relied on parish listening sessions, online surveys, Zoom meetings and other avenues to get feedback from laity.
“‘It’s a great opportunity for me to learn and for bishops all over the world to develop better habits of consultation with our people,’ Bishop Christopher Coyne of Burlington, Vermont, told NCR …
“Francis announced in May that he would be expanding the scope of the next synod, originally set for 2022. He postponed the Vatican meeting of bishops, now set for October 2023, to allow first for periods of consultation in every local diocese and at the continental level.
“Although Francis has previously asked for local consultation to occur before other synods during his pontificate, no earlier process has been so wide-ranging.”
By Brian Fraga, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
Pope Francis wants every Catholic to have a say. Why haven’t US Catholics heard about it? / National Catholic Reporter
Success for bishops not focused on controlling power will be listening and honestly reporting the needs of the people.National Catholic Reporter
“Pope Francis’ plan is for ordinary Catholics to have their say. It begins with the coming synod, which opens in Rome on Oct. 9 and in every diocese in the world on Oct. 17.
“The problem: No one seems to know about it. The bigger problem: U.S. bishops don’t seem to care.
“It’s called ‘For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.’ While Francis truly wants all Catholics to pray and talk about the needs of today’s church, his plan depends on diocesan participation. As the U.S. bishops fulminate over which Catholic politician can receive Communion, they’ve done little to plan for the worldwide discussion on the needs of the church. They were asked to get organized last May. They haven’t.
“Here’s how things are supposed to work. Last May, Rome asked every bishop for the name of the person managing his diocesan synodal process. The bishop then is to open his local synod Oct. 17, collect input from parishes, and report to his national episcopal conference.
By Phyllis Zagano, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
“A global process set to mobilize millions and transform the world’s oldest and largest institution has so far registered as no more than a blip on the Catholic radar.”Commonweal
“The most far-reaching event in the Catholic Church in my lifetime officially gets its start next month. It is Pope Francis’s boldest move yet, the historic shake-up that a Church brought low by sex-abuse scandals badly needs, and potentially the most transformative moment in Catholicism since the Second Vatican Council, which it seeks to embed permanently into the life of the Church. The two-year “synod on synodality,” launched in Rome on October 9 and in dioceses worldwide a week later, is set to mark Christianity forever.
“Yet who knows it is even happening? A global process set to mobilize millions and transform the world’s oldest and largest institution has so far registered as no more than a blip on the Catholic radar. Bishops briefed by Rome’s synod secretariat back in May have been mostly quiet about it, hiding behind cautious communiqués buried on websites, awaiting details, fearful of unleashing forces and expectations beyond their command.
“So we begin with a paradox. The path to the 2023 Synod in Rome, on the theme “For a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission,” is designed to engage every diocese, every bishops’ conference, and every continental Church body. It will unleash the biggest popular consultation in history. It will require, as never before, the assembly of the People of God, in mass meetings at parishes and across dioceses around the world, who are being given “the ability to imagine a different future for the Church and her institutions, in keeping with the mission she has received,” in the words of the Preparatory Document released last week.”
By Austen Ivereigh, Commonweal — Read more …
Click here to read the Vatican news release announcing the 2023 Synod and to see list of links to Vatican and Voice of the Faithful resources to help understand the Synod.
The General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops presents the base text and ‘vademecum’ – or handbook – to guide the journey of the Synod on Synodality. Listening without prejudice; speaking out with courage and parrhesia; dialoguing with the Church, with society, and with the other Christian confessions.Vatican News
“The General Secretariat for the Synod has published the Preparatory Document, along with a Vademecum (or handbook) to indicate the guiding principles that will direct the path of the Synod on Synodality. The solemn opening of the Synod will take place in Rome on October 9-10, and in the particular Churches on October 17; and will conclude in the Vatican in 2023 with the assembly of bishops from around the world.
“The Preparatory Document, released on Tuesday, is intended above all to be an instrument facilitating the first phase of listening and consultation of the People of God in the particular Churches, which will take place from October 2021 to April 2022.
“‘In other words,’ as the document says, ‘it constitutes a sort of construction site or pilot experience that makes it possible to immediately begin reaping the fruits of the dynamic that progressive synodal conversion introduces into the Christian community.'”
By Vatican News — Read more …
Lay people aren’t just called to implement decisions in the Church made by others, but to make those decisions themselves.Cruxnow.com
“Looking ahead to a looming Synod of Bishops on the concept of ‘synodality,’ a lay Venezuelan theologian says the time has come for bishops to grasp one key point: Lay people aren’t just called to implement decisions in the Church made by others, but to make those decisions themselves.
“Layman Rafael Luciani, who divides his year between Venezuela and Boston, where he works at Boston College, is one of three Latin American theologians who were chosen as consultants for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the matter of Synodality, to which he hopes to contribute “from a non-clerical vision.”
“‘If there is no co-governance, there is no understanding of the Church that involves all the baptized,’ Luciani told Crux. ‘Co-governance does not mean that one person makes the final decision and brings it to the table, where others have to understand why I made a decision. It means that a discernment has to be done together, and decisions have to be made together, not explained from the top down.'”
By Ines San Martin, Cruxnow.com — Read more …
Synod English Groups: Abuse crisis undermines church ‘in practically every way’ / National Catholic Reporter
Naming some of the effects of abuse — “shattered trust, the trauma and lifelong suffering of survivors; the catastrophic failures in case management; the continued silence and denial” — the group added: “these issues cry out to be named openly by the Synod.” (National Catholic Reporter)
Two of the four working groups for English-speaking prelates at the worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops on young people have spent time considering the impact of clergy abuse scandals on the global church’s credibility.
“In the first of three reports expected from the working groups during the Oct. 3-28 Synod of Bishops, one of the English groups said bluntly that in the gathering’s expected final document clergy abuse ‘cannot be skimmed over tangentially in a few short sentences.’
“Naming some of the effects of abuse — ‘shattered trust, the trauma and lifelong suffering of survivors; the catastrophic failures in case management; the continued silence and denial’ — the group added: ‘these issues cry out to be named openly by the Synod.’
“‘If priests themselves are afraid to minister among the youth, then how can our Synod get out the message that young people, their faith and their vocational discernment are important to us?’ asked that group, which is being led by Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias.
By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …
N.B.: This is part one of a three-part series discussing the theologies of the papacies of Pope Francis and Pope Paul VI. Links to parts two and three of the series are listed below.
The opposition to Pope Francis is unprecedented. There have been disagreements in the life of the church before: How could there not be? And, in recent times, we have even seen some cardinals voice disappointment or even disagreement with directives coming from Rome. For example, Belgian Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens was not shy in voicing his concern about the manner in which the first synods of bishops after the Second Vatican Council were conducted. But claiming an apostolic exhortation is not magisterial? Publishing detailed challenges to the pope’s teaching? This is uncharted territory.
“I believe that the opposition to Francis is rooted in a flawed understanding of the post-conciliar era and, more specifically, where we are in the process of receiving the council. Francis, just last month, in an interview with Italian daily Avvenire, noted that it takes about 100 years to fully receive a council, and he is right. Some people thought that process was completed, and that they had mastered all the riddles of the Catholic faith in the post-conciliar age. They are very upset that their assumptions and some of their conclusions have been challenged.
“Last week marked the 51st anniversary of the close of Vatican II. In the past four years, we marked the opening of the council, commemorated the promulgation of key conciliar texts, held conferences to explore the meaning of the documents, and appropriately so, because Vatican II remains the most determinative event in the life of the Catholic church in our living memory.
By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this first article in Winters’ three-part series.
Click here to read the second article in this series, “Pope Paul VI’s greatness lies in his church leaderhsip after Vatican II.”
Click here to read the third article in this series, “Different popes, different personalities — and underlying continuity.”
Some have called Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia, or ‘The Joy of Love,’ his reflection on the two recent Synods of Bishops on the family, a ‘love letter’ to families. We believe that Francis’ teaching on conscience in that letter is one of the most important teachings in the apostolic exhortation. As various church bodies announced plans about how to implement Amoris Laetitia, it is instructive to see how they will present Francis’ teaching on conscience.
“To spread the teaching of Amoris Laetitia though U.S. dioceses and parishes, the U.S. bishops have appointed a working group led by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput. The work of this group isn’t yet public, but Chaput has issued guidelines for implementing Amoris Laetitia in his own archdiocese.
“In the Philadelphia guidelines, which went into effect in July, Chaput comments on the indissolubility of marriage and admission to Communion for the divorced and remarried without an annulment. He noted that pastors have an obligation to educate the faithful, since ‘the subjective conscience of the individual can never be set against objective moral truth, as if conscience and truth were two competing principles for moral decision-making.’ The ‘objective truth,’ according to magisterial teaching, is that couples living in this situation are committing adultery and cannot receive Communion and that their subjective consciences must adhere to this truth.
“Chaput’s comment highlights theological debates in the Catholic tradition on the interrelationship between conscience and objective norms in moral decision-making …”
By Michael G. Lawler and Todd Salzman, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this article.