December 1, 2023

Schönborn: The best synod style I have ever known

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn described the style and behavior of the current Synod of Bishops as the best ever. The Archbishop of Vienna participates in the Synod for the ninth time. At Monday’s news conference, he rejected the fear that including secular electors would weaken the synod as an institution.

“I don’t see a problem,” Schönborn explained. “It is a synod of bishops with real participation, but also of non-bishops.” The Synod is an advisory body for the exercise of the papal office. “Its nature has not changed, but rather expanded. “Very good experience,” Schoenborn said. In previous councils of bishops, some laity have made interventions that have been of great importance to the deliberations. “Here there is a closer connection – we are all together in the Synod of Bishops with expanded participation.”

Synodality as a means of living communion in the Church

As a theologian, the doctrinaire Schönborn participated in the Synod on Communion in 1985, that is, on community as an essential element of faith. “My impression is that what we are currently discussing is how to live communion,” the Austrian cardinal said at the press conference at the Vatican. The Church is the people of God, and he now sees conciliarism as a “way of practice” for society.

“…Europe is no longer the main center of the Church”

Schönborn continued that the strongest impression he got from this synod was the realization that “Europe is no longer the main center of the Church.” The Synod showed how strongly Latin America, Asia and Africa were emerging as new centers of Catholicism, thanks to their powerful continental conferences. Schönborn expressed a “word of complaint” about his European counterpart. The Committee of European Churches, CCEE, has failed to develop the same capabilities as FABC (Asia), CELAM (Latin America), and now Africa (SECAM). We have fallen behind in the synodal life of the churches in Europe, and we need an incentive to move forward further. Basic.

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Saturday evening: interim balance document

Vatican Press Governor Paolo Ruffini said that the message addressed to the people of God prepared by the councils will be approved and published on Wednesday. The document was read on Monday morning and was received with applause. Synod members have until this evening to submit requests for changes.

On Saturday evening, the Vatican wants to present the final document to this year’s synod meeting, which represents a temporary situation. Archbishop of Marseille Jean-Marc Avelin spoke of a “decisive week” until then. Among other things, agreement must be reached on points that remain open and need more depth before the 2024 meeting.

(Vatican News – A)