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September 17, 2022
There were 27 participants from five of the seven regions where continental assemblies will be held. We began with the synodal prayer.
Presentations by members representing each of the continental assemblies:
The intent of these presentations is to better understand to what extent the episcopal national reports from the bishops are in sync with the reports from the People of God.
9 September 2022
The Synod Office have received 104 National Syntheses out of the 114 Bishops conferences from around the world. But less than 50% of these National Syntheses are publicly available!
While the Synod Office “strongly recommended” that each Diocesan Syntheses should be made public, they left it to the individual bishop’s conferences to decide whether to publish their National Syntheses or not. And over 50% have reverted to their traditional position of SECRECY. The majority wish to avoid transparency and accountability.
Pope Francis’ Synodal process had proposed listening at the grassroots level: From communities to parishes to diocese to country to continent to global synod. But it appears the majority of bishops prefer to mould their National Syntheses to their personal liking, rather than reflecting what the Holy Spirit is saying through the people of God. The synodal process should be transparent at all stages.
The Continental Syntheses now being prepared are to be reviewed in each country, which provides some scope for checking manipulation. Hopefully the committees will be free to speak openly where they identify manipulations.
The Synod in October 2023 is to be made up of 300 men and 1 woman. That should be changed by Pope Francis to 300 men and 300 women. That would show a clear move towards the “inverted pyramid” Pope Francis has spoken about.
Chair, We Are Church International
M +353 86 606 3636
We Are Church International (WAC) founded in Rome in 1996, is a global coalition of national church reform groups. It is committed to the renewal of the Roman Catholic Church based on the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and the theological spirit developed from it.
INTERNATIONAL REPRESENTATIVES FIND UNANIMOUS AGREEMENT
ON ESSENTIAL CHURCH REFORMS DESPITE WIDE CULTURAL DIVERSITY
Reflections from a series of gatherings of worldwide representatives from Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa and Australia/Oceania have been compiled by Catholic Church Reform International (CCRI) as a submission to the Synod Office in Rome. The document reflects the extensive knowledge of CCRI member organizations of the Church as they report on the relationship (or lack thereof) of bishops with the people each in their own country. On a diocesan level there are several good working relationships between the people and the bishops, but the vast majority range from unsatisfactory to non-existent. While many reports from bishops’ conferences to the Synod secretariat will reflect a hierarchical viewpoint with filtered views of the faithful, these reflections offer an appraisal of the state of our Church from Catholics committed to their faith and to the renewal of their Church from the grassroots.
Common concerns expressed in these synodal gatherings were (1) the acceleration of Catholics leaving the Church with young people being driven out in droves; (2) the dysfunctional governance of our Church with far too many bishops regarding their roles as autocratic in nature seeking little or no engagement with the people of the Church for whom they are pastorally responsible; (3) the patriarchal dominance in the Church with women excluded from important administrative and ministerial roles; and (4) a number of deeply flawed official teachings currently rejected by the sensus fidelium, especially regarding sexuality and reproduction, failing to reflect authentic natural law.
Participants in this series of global synodal gatherings strongly support Pope Francis’s efforts to implement a synodal church, i.e., where bishops and people “walk together” to make decisions for the whole community. From a representation of twenty plus regions reflecting significant cultural, social and economic diversity, while listening deeply to one another and guided by the promptings of the Spirit, representatives from the Amazon, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Japan, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, South Africa, Spain, UK, and USA unanimously agreed that the Church we envision is inclusive and welcoming of all as equal, regardless of socio-economic background. It was agreed that the people should replicate the early Christian community by selecting their leaders with the role of ministries filled by men and women alike, both married and single. Full equality for women, including priestly ordination, is seen by the people of the Church as a fundamental issue in ensuring a just and viable Church. We must also implement the teachings of Laudato Si in caring for the earth, ensuring we exercise our responsibility in providing a sustainable environment for future generations.
Our understanding of Christianity is less about time spent in church and more about realizing that our Christian calling is best expressed in how we show our love for God through our love for all those who are in our lives – our family, friends, enemies, and those not so easy to love. We are truly Christians when we stand ecumenically in solidarity with the poor, the marginalized, the immigrants, and the less fortunate who most need us in our society.
Despite our cultural and regional differences throughout the world, we are in full consensus that these reforms are essential for the sustainability and future of our Church.