World Synod of the Catholic Church: There should be no “business as usual” anymore

As of: 9/10/2021 5:33 PM

In light of the upcoming Universal Synod of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis called for a rethink. If one continued as before, it would be “poison in the life of the Church.”

Written by Tilman Klaingong, ARD Studio Rome

The Catholic Church is in crisis. The loss of trust caused by the abuse scandal is massive. At the beginning of the Universal Synod of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis clarified: the sentence – “We have always done it this way” – is no longer considered an argument.

“This sentence is poisoned in the life of the Church: ‘We have always done it this way, and therefore it is better not to change anything.’ And whoever moves on this horizon, even without noticing it, makes the mistake of not taking the time. We We live seriously.” “There is a danger that old solutions will end up applying to new problems.”

Believers around the world ask about the church

The Pope said before the official launch of the two-year project on Sunday that the Catholic Church will succeed in this process of reform only through the active cooperation of all. It is about listening to believers around the world.

First of all, believers will be heard about the state of the Church by April 2022. On this basis, Francis wants to discuss the new rules within the Church at the Conference of World Bishops in 2023, which will then be solidified in an Apostolic Message. This should be a guide to reforms in the church, to which all churches in the world can orient themselves.

It’s about a new way of living together in the Church, says Gudrun Celer of Vatican Radio. “Sometimes the church is an inanimate organism, here the bishops, here the lay people, everything is in its place,” says Celler. “With this global Synod, the Pope now wants to bring about the participation of all parts of the People of God, a living and vibrant Church.”

Everyone should help shape the World Synod

And something has already changed. At the beginning of this world synod, cardinals and bishops do not dominate the picture. The majority of this inaugural event are Catholics from all over the world.

This is to be an example. Everyone should help shape this global complex. “If the whole people of God are not involved, there is a danger that the discourse of society will be merely a pious intention,” Pope Francis said in his address.

“We cannot ignore it: the unease and suffering of many pastoral workers, councils in dioceses and parishes and women who are still often on the sidelines,” Francis added. The participation of all is essential to the Church.

The German reform process has already advanced

Many have spoken at the beginning of this World Synod. For example, Sister Donna Qianjiu from the United States, who said in a video message that different continents also have different needs.

The German participants did not attend this first world synodal event, but this should be reflected in the statement made by Sister Donna of the United States. In the Catholic Church in Germany, the reform process progressed well. Here, on the synodal process, the offices of women’s ordination or grassroots participation in the appointment of bishops are discussed and eventually voted upon as well.

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Not a ‘different church’, but a ‘different’

“In Rome, there are some reservations about the conciliar way in Germany,” says Gudrun Siler of Vatican Radio. In any case, from the Roman point of view, the Universal Synod is much broader and therefore open. “How can we be a church with each other in a new way, the Vatican has not given any guidance. Except that it should be a spiritual process,” said Celler.

The Pope says the synod is not a parliament or an opinion poll. Francis does not want a “different church,” he wants a “different church.” This, in turn, requires a change in “the Church’s affirmative, insulting, distorted, and one-sided ideas,” according to Francis. These words of the Pope should inspire hope in reform-minded Catholics that something will indeed change in the church’s structure.

World Synod kicks off: Pope warns of ‘old solutions to new problems’

Tilmann Kleinjung, ARD Rom, 9.10.2021 15:53 ​​Uhr

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