The secretariat of the Synod of Bishops has decided to extend, until August 15, 2022, the diocesan phase of consultation with a view to the Synod on Synodality of 2023. This deadline aims to allow greater listening to the people of God, who do not is not limited, as one might have feared, to a simple feedback of information from the pastoral councils and diocesan presbyterals, but extends well to the whole of the people of God, as well as to all those who are question, or who may have left the Church as well.
The parish consultation is eagerly awaited. Today there is a great thirst to express oneself, particularly keen in view of the crisis of sexual violence in the Church, but also in a context of questioning about the governance of a Church where priests are less and less active. fewer and where the laity assume more responsibilities. The synodal process initiated, at the invitation of Rome, thus encourages everyone to be able to express themselves, so that more committed Catholics go out to meet those who are more distant so that their word may be expressed.
→ READ. Synod on synodality: from France, Ivory Coast or Brazil, the Church rushes towards Rome 2023
How to welcome it? There is a challenge here, which consists in ensuring that each diocese lives this process in an effectively synodal way, that is to say by giving the floor concretely to all and by taking into account the various words that will arise. come to light, without a pre-established filter, but by listening to the Holy Spirit. Listening to the Holy Spirit is not a matter of beautiful pious feelings, but requires lucidity to avoid succumbing to party games, to temptations to control the process by choosing to privilege listening to this or that. group.
A test for the Church of France
The constitution of “synodal” groups, decided in Lourdes in the context of the post-Ciase period, represents an important stake, but it is not this fundamental listening to the people of God as a whole with a view to the next Synod of Bishops. It is crucial to distinguish between the two types of listening performed.
In the “synodal” groups, people will participate who will be appointed by the Conference of Bishops of France. In the synodal process initiated by Rome and in which the Churches of each country are called to participate, every baptized person, and even every person wishing to share his aspirations for the Church, is invited to express himself within the framework of the dioceses. The Holy Spirit, as the Second Vatican Council reminds us, is present in a “particular” way in the “whole people” (Lumen gentium not. 12), that is, when the community as a whole expresses itself.
The process represents a “test” for our Church in France, that of its commitment to be more synodal, that is to say to live more of the co-responsibility between all the baptized, who enjoy equal dignity in diversity. of their vocations. In a context of growing polarization, it is about listening to each other between different sensibilities, without excluding anyone.