Presentation, Debate and Approval of Working Document for the Continental Stage – Synod 2021-2024

Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,

Our task on the final day was to agree on a synthesis of our European Assembly. This document, along with the documents from the 6 other continents, will form the basis of the Working Document for the Synod in Rome this October.

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Presentation, Debate, and Approval of Final Document

There was no pre-prepared document, even partial. The only material came from our meeting in Prague. Although I believe that this was the correct method, it meant that the text could not be finalised. A draft was read, discussed and that text was approved as being an accurate synthesis. However, since the editors worked with 5 languages, more editing work and styling is needed. This will take several weeks before final approval.

However, I am able to share the primary themes contained in the initial approval. The Assembly took place within a spiritual atmosphere where prayer and the Word of God was central. That the Church is led by the Holy Spirit was constantly reiterated, and thus discernment is key. We recognised the beauty of the Church as the Body of Christ. The common priesthood of all the baptised was greatly stressed with particular emphasis on the proper role of all the laity, including women and youth. The basic call to mission should be carried out with listening, dialogue, care for the poor, ecumenically and with other faiths, recognising that which is good in secular societies but faithful witness regarding that which is not, how to better balance Truth and Mercy, welcoming all without diluting Church teaching. The Church needs inner conversion and repentance for when it has hurt people, not least through the abuse scandals. Synodality is essential for the Church and formation for seminarians, clergy and laity is needed. There is a tension between the hierarchical and charismatic but it is also fruitful. There was a desire to care for clergy but also a healthier relationship between clergy and laity to help overcome clericalism. The importance of Liturgy was emphasised but also tensions which surround it. In conclusion, it was recognised that although we live in challenging times we are confident because of God’s grace!

We finished with singing Salve Regina, aware of our Lady’s protection.

I encourage further synodal reflection throughout our diocese.