Synod Conference Highlights: Christian Unity, Ecumenical Dialogue, and Synodal Process

2023-10-27 12:29:04

Thursday’s synod press conference, which was attended by the head of the Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity and two non-Catholic “fraternal church representatives,” had an “ecumenical” aspect.

C. Roubini Chinnapa9 CTC, Vatican News

Head of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and President of the Synod Information Commission Dr. Paolo Ruffini and Sheila Pearce, secretary of the same commission, said that the General Assembly is currently discussing the document that will eventually be published by the Synod. The “Letter to the People of God” document was published yesterday afternoon after it was approved by the General Assembly. They also informed that they hope to publish the synod’s synthesis document on Saturday.

Speaking about the key points of the general assembly, Peres said 336 voted in favor and 12 against the letter the Synod wrote to the people of God, emphasizing the importance of freedom of expression and open debate. The Church’s need for missionary courage and the centrality of the encounter with Jesus in faith and missionary zeal were discussed. Prayer, prayer groups, the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Reconciliation were affirmed as essential to the Church’s mission. The liturgical aspect of synodality and the role of the synod as matriarchal in the liturgy were discussed. Emphasizing the importance of sensus fidei (a sense of faith) and the value of women in the church, Peres described the special ability of women to listen, comfort, and counsel, and the opportunity to speak about the listening of the church.

The synod also discussed the need to address various forms of abuse, not just physical. The church’s commitment to the Kingdom of God and its mission to be welcomed are emphasized.

References to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the importance of Christian unity, interreligious dialogue and relations with non-believers were raised in the General Assembly. Globally, cultural colonization from North to South has been raised as an issue. The Church’s presence in world crises was emphasized, including the importance of peace. The suffering of those in conflict zones and conditions of extreme inequality were highlighted. Placing the poor at the center of the Church’s mission was emphasized as a Christological aspect.

In the press conference held about the sixteenth general assembly of the Synod, Ruffini discussed the purpose of the “Synthesis Report.” He shared that this report will serve as an interim document and is different from the final document to be adopted in October 2024.

Its main purpose is to provide an overview of the ongoing discernment process within the Synod and to highlight innovative and exploratory aspects. In particular, this synthesis document will describe where more critical thinking has taken place and where it is still needed. Ruffini informed that it will be a circular process of bringing it back to God’s people and listening to their opinions.

It seeks to promote joy and vitality in the synodal experience. Christian Murray explained the participation of Brotherhood representatives from different Christian traditions. 12 representatives from non-Catholic sister churches were present in the synod. He highlighted their active participation in the discussions and their participation in the meditation in preparation for the Synod. Cardinal Koh emphasized the ecumenical dimension of the synod. Relating baptism as the foundation of ecumenism and synodism, he indicated that it is the sacrament of baptism that unites us.

The Western-Southern European Orthodox Metropolitan, Joseph expressed his satisfaction with the comprehensive approach of the Synod. He emphasized the pursuit of unity among Christians. World Pentecostal Federation Representative Opuku Onaina commended the openness and transparency of the Synod as an expression of the humility of the Catholic Church. Archbishop Gedecki shared his positive experience, noting that the debate was peaceful and constructive, emphasizing the method used for negotiations.

On the global desire among bishops to prioritize synodality and its roots in ongoing dialogue among ecumenical partners, Dr. Discussed by Catherine Clifford. She also highlighted the importance of receptive ecumenism and synodalism as a preferred image for the Church’s journey towards reconciliation.

During the question-and-answer session, topics such as the role of ecumenism in evangelization, the expansion of training for future priests in Poland, and the possibility of ordination of married men as discussed at the Synod for the Amazon were raised. Dr. said that the assembly will remain the same for the next year. Ruffini clarified. The Romanian Metropolitan spoke about the challenges of reaching a consensus on the Orthodox experience.

In short, the synthesis report will be a temporary document to promote the ongoing synodal process of unity and an inclusive and joyful atmosphere within the Church. The question and answer session covered various topics related to the Synod’s deliberations and future directions, emphasizing active participation of fraternal church representatives, synod ecumenism, debate, and acceptance of differing viewpoints.

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