Synod of Bishops assembly members will be asked to find ways to build community, encourage the contribution of every baptised person and strengthen the Church’s primary mission of Gospel-sharing, said the working document for the October gathering. Source: CNS.
“A synodal Church is founded on the recognition of a common dignity deriving from baptism, which makes all who receive it sons and daughters of God, members of the family of God, and therefore brothers and sisters in Christ, inhabited by the one Spirit and sent to fulfil a common mission,” said the Instrumentum Laboris, which was released at the Vatican yesterday.
However, it said, many Catholics around the world report that too many baptised persons — particularly LGBTQ+ Catholics, the divorced and civilly remarried, the poor, women and people with disabilities — are excluded from active participation in the life of the Church and particularly from its decision-making structures.
Based on the input from listening sessions held around the world since October 2021 and especially from reports submitted from continental and regional synod sessions earlier this year, the working document asks members of the synod to focus their prayer, discussion and discernment on three priorities:
— Communion, asking: “How can we be more fully a sign and instrument of union with God and of the unity of all humanity?”
— “Co-responsibility in mission: How can we better share gifts and tasks in the service of the Gospel?”
— “Participation, governance and authority: What processes, structures and institutions are needed in a missionary synodal Church?”
The first synod assembly, scheduled for October 4-29, “will have the task of discerning the concrete steps which enable the continued growth of a synodal Church, steps that it will then submit to the Holy Father,” the document said. Some questions will require further discernment and study with the help of theologians and canon lawyers, which is why a second assembly of the synod will be held in October 2024.
Even then, resolving every issue raised in the synod listening sessions is unlikely, the document said. But “characteristic of a synodal Church is the ability to manage tensions without being crushed by them.”
Synod document asks how to increase unity, participation, mission outreach (By Cindy Wooden, CNS)