First posted via The Glengarry News.
“Alright stop, collaborate, and listen.” What does the theology of Vanilla Ice have to teach us about the new Synod process happening now in the Universal Church?
Pope Francis has opened a three-year synodal journey of consultations and discernment, which will culminate with an assembly in October 2023 in Rome. The process includes three phases: Diocesan, Continental, and Universal.
This week, Thursday, I will be spending the day with many of the English-speaking priests of the Archdiocese of Ottawa-Cornwall, and different leaders from our parishes, around the Archbishop discerning what this means for our local parishes.
What is a synod? Cardinal Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, echoed Pope Francis last week stating that the Synod is not a Church parliament. “The Synod is not a Church parliament where different interest groups fight for the majority. A Synod finds its rules in the Church and in the Acts of the Apostles.” Facing conflict, the Early Church did not form a commission, and neither did they write papers. Rather, they listened to each other. “Stop, collaborate, and listen.”
You have something to say, and I would like to hear from you. Our Holy Father wants us “to listen not only within our small inner circle of the Church but to have an open ear to what is in the life of so many people: Christians and non-Christians, what are their worries, what are their joys, and then to ask ‘what do we do when we have listened?’”
Archbishop Marcel Damphousse spoke of this new Synod process last weekend at our first Keynote Speaker Series, sponsored by Maison Shalom House. He also addressed a letter to the Priests, Deacons, and Lay Faithful.
“As many of you already know, my heart and vision for our Archdiocese is a Church that is alive in Christ and missionary in its zeal to bring the message, hope, and love of Christ to all. My journey through this first year of ministry as your Archbishop coincides with a crucial time in the life of the Church and the world which has been marked by increased suffering, injustice, and abuse of power. It is important that our path forward include humbly listening to one another, and especially to those on the margins of the Church and of society.”
The Archbishop concludes his letter by inviting us all into this synodal process, a journey of communion, participation, and mission. “A Synod is fundamentally a spiritual process of listening and discerning how God is calling us to be a Church in the third millennium. It is a humble listening and a journey together which aims towards unity and understanding and should not be confused with a political process marked by power struggles. In creating the opportunity for listening, dialogue, and discernment at the local level through this Synod, Pope Francis is calling the Church to rediscover its deeply synodal nature.”
“Stop. Collaborate. Listen.” Have a great week. Peace.