The 2022 Synod must be expanded to include lay people, especially women and young people
Pope Francis has repeatedly said he wants us to be a "synodal" church. Understanding synod to mean “walking together,” it is our expectation that any coming synod will mean that lay people and especially women and young people are going to be walking together/side by side with the bishops and priests in this assembly.. But our fear is that they will be walking behind (two tiers, two rows, front and back) as has always been done in the past. In the Synodal Path assembly held in Germany this year, the bishops and lay people walked in side by side in a genuine synodal style. Pope Francis has called for a Synod in 2022. Our concern in advance is that this Synod will not be “the whole Church walking in a synodal way.”
At this moment, the Lineamenta (the preparatory document for the Synod) is already being drafted. Our concerns: Are lay people/women involved? Or is the document from the top down? Who is being consulted? Where is the distribution of the Lineamenta taking place? Is it going directly to a wider, inclusive group? In the old model, it went to the Conferences of Bishops, to the Pontifical University, and to the Union Superior Generals of men. But is it going to the Union Superior Generals of women or to International lay groups? Let us do all in our power to ensure that, finally, voting participants in this Synod will be more inclusive!
When the Lineamenta came out in Vatican documents on young people, there was no reference to the term “LGBT+” (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgendered, etc.). Young people requested that it be included in the document. It is a reality in our world and in humanity. On the synod floor, there were many disputes over this issue. African bishops declared they had no gay people in their country. When young people were asked what is missing from our Vatican documents, they said reference to sexuality. Rome is frightened of addressing this issue. When Francis came out with his Apostolic exhortation, these topics were left out. It was felt they were too controversial.
Our Opportunity to participate in submitting issues we want to see included in the 2022 Synod agenda
What can we do to address our concerns about the preparation for the October 2022 Synod? ln the name of our being a Synodal church, along with other reform organizations, let us commit to submitting our suggestions for agenda topics and positions to be addressed at this Synod. We insist on having lay people, especially women and young adults, included both in this process and in the right to vote.
Tomas Halik, Peter Neuner, Anna Hennersperger, and Paul M. Zulehner (from Austria) have created a survey and have invited all of us to take part in it. The survey is designed to give the Synod organizers a sense of the views of the People of God and encourage the participants to make bold deliberations and decisions. We strongly encourage every one of us to take the survey. Here is the link in English: https://survey.zulehner.org/index.php/514332?lang=en. Please pass this onto to your members and list of contacts. We must have a new way of thinking and writing about the church that is inclusive. This will not happen coming from the Bishops alone. We need to pressure them by making our voices heard.
The survey is available in both German and English. For another language, please use a computer program (e.g. https://translate.google.com/) to translate the questionnaire. Let us all commit to taking the survey and assuming a more responsible role in moving our church forward and joining in its governance.
Additional action steps we can all take
At the Amazonian Synod which was completed in October 2019, 185 members (mostly bishops but included some lay people from the nine countries that contain a share of the Amazon rainforest) at least a two-thirds majority reached approval to three resolutions: having a permanent diaconate for women; ordaining suitable and esteemed men of the community, who have had a fruitful permanent diaconate and received adequate formation for the priesthood; and introduce an Amazonian rite that expresses the liturgical, theological, disciplinary and spiritual patrimony of the Amazon.
We encourage all of us to reach out to Cardinal Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, S.J. who is the new president of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network, Rede Eclesial Pan-Amazonica (REPAM). This body differs from the old way of organizing in that it includes lay people and bishops working together. Our objective is to encourage this ecclesial network to move forward taking the steps they already voted on to better meet the needs of the Amazonian people. By doing so, not only the Amazon will benefit but all of us in the universal church globally will profit as well. Once these changes occur in one part of the world, it will open up the possibility for them to happen on other parts as well.
Please share this request with everyone in your contact list. The greater number and more varied ways we reach these leaders, each in our own style and language, the greater impact our outreach will have on effecting change. You can reach Cardinal Barreto in any one of the following ways:
c. leave a message for him at his personal telephone: [64)243.049
d. send a letter to the Archdiocese Physical Address: Puno 430, Huanacayo, Peru
e. leave a message at the Archdiocese telephone number: (64)234.952
f. fax the Archdiocese at (64)239.189
Reach out to Cardinal Hummus as the new head of the new Pan-Amazonian ecclesial conference (CEAMA), established as a direct result of the Amazon synod. Again we are congratulating the participants of the Amazonian Synod for their good work and to encourage them to delay no longer. Make their resolutions a reality:
a. by sending a letter to his home address: Quito, Equador – Ulloa n24-109 e Av. Colon
We encourage all who agree to sign the petition sponsored by the Global Interfaith community. They are an ecumenical organization calling calling for an end to violence and criminalization against LGBT+ people and for a global ban on conversion therapy. Mary McAleese, the former president of Ireland, is one of the promoters. To participate, go to https://globalinterfaith.lgbt/.
Join with us and be part of reforming our Church
YOUR GIFT – IN ANY AMOUNT – IS PRICELESS
We wish all of you the very best for this Christmas season. Thank you in advance for taking part in any or all of these actions. Every single outreach can make a difference in getting our church back on mission as Jesus intended it.