Following the remarks of the Apostolic Nuncio on November 16, several American bishops spoke with the Register about their vision and implementation of the Synod on Synodality.
In his address last week at the start of the Fall General Assembly of American Bishops, Apostolic Nuncio Bishop Christophe Pierre underlined the theme of synodality, which he defined as “a way of living the faith in a meaningful way. permanent at all levels: in your dioceses, parishes, family, and in the peripheries.
Last month, the Synod on Synodality began, a two-year global consultation process that Pope Francis describe as “walking together on the same path” and looking at “Jesus, who meets the rich on the way; he then listens to his questions, and finally he helps him to discern what he must do to inherit eternal life.
Following Archbishop Peter’s remarks, several American bishops spoke with the Register about their understanding of synodality as the Church prepares to embark on what Pope Francis has described as a “journey of spiritual discernment.”
In his address to the bishops, Bishop Pierre declared that “true reform, while necessarily remaining faithful to the living Tradition of the Church, must also involve concrete actions, which include the participation of the whole Church”. A concrete example of synodality he gave is the initiative of the USCCB Walk with moms in need, qualifying it as a “synodal process”, because “it seeks to walk with women; to better understand their situations; working with pro-life agencies and social services to meet the concrete needs of pregnant women and their children … parishes, listening to what some of the spiritual, social and emotional needs of people are, can accompany women – even with little acts of kindness. Concrete gestures, not just ideas, show the motherly and tender face of the Church which is truly pro-life.
A call to listen
Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas, the outgoing president of the pro-life USCCB that leads the initiative, joked that “we didn’t even know we were doing synodality back then” when the Waking With Moms initiative started two years ago. He told the Registry that he sees the initiative as “a unifying effort” and “part of that is listening” as “one of the good things God has brought out of this tragedy of legalized abortion,” is that it forces us as a Church to listen more carefully to what are some of the circumstances that would cause a person to think that their only option or their best option is to kill their child. And how do we surround them with ‘love ? ”
Bishop Thomas Daly of Spokane, Washington, told the Register that Archbishop Peter’s words resonated about “the importance of listening.” He said that “synodality is not that thing where fundamental things are discussed, but I think it is a call to listen and we can only listen when there is mutual respect for each other. others”. He warned that there are “some who believe that synodality will be an opportunity for them to radically change what the Church believes and teaches and I have seen it in some people. It is not about that, but it must be about a real listening done with humility, in search of the truth.
Part of the tradition of the Church
Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Illinois, said in this synod on synodality, “Pope Francis calls us to listen to the people and to have advisory bodies.” He said synods are already “fairly generally done here in the United States”, including in his own diocese where he meets with priests and laity and “for any significant issue that arises, I always get their advice.” He added that in 2017, his diocese had an “official and formal diocesan synod”.
Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Francisco said of synodality that “we continue to understand exactly what it means, but the word means, as has been pointed out, to walk together.” Archbishop Peter noted in his speech that “the Greek word synods means “to walk the path together”. Archbishop Cordileone said: “We have in our Church diocesan synods and now synods of bishops”, stressing that “years ago, before Vatican II, every diocese was required to have a synod every five years or at most every 10 years and it was time to call the people of God. I think it was probably mainly the clergy at the time. Now we would include all categories of members of the body of Christ to discern where the spirit is leading and I think the idea was to publish review policies and publish new policies as well as pastoral planning.
“We have this deep in the tradition of our Church,” he said, “but we have never done it in this way where the whole world participates in a synod … We must first of all listen. the Holy Spirit so it must be rooted in prayer and then listen to each other.