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Underlying the proceedings at the 2nd Vatican Council were two major principles: ressourcement, calling for a return to the sources, and aggiornamento, calling for a genuine update of the Church to increase its relevancy to the modern world.
For two millennia the ecclesia, founded on the leadership of the Apostles, had held firm to the essence of its faith, worship and governance, but with the passage of time and the vicissitudes of history had also acquired much peripheral baggage of beliefs, customs and practices far removed from the apostolic tradition. Many were also anachronistic, with little or no meaning for the Church and world of the 20th century, and they were hindering, not helping evangelization.
Pope Francis, 17 October 2015, said in a speech commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the setting up of the Synod of Bishops,
The first level of the exercise of synodality is had in the particular Churches. After mentioning the noble institution of the Diocesan Synod, in which priests and laity are called to cooperate with the bishop for the good of the whole ecclesial community,(22) theCode of Canon Law devotes ample space to what are usually called “organs of communion” in the local Church: the presbyteral council, the college of consultors, chapters of canons and the pastoral council.(23) Only to the extent that these organizations keep connected to the “base” and start from people and their daily problems, can a synodal Church begin to take shape: these means, even when they prove wearisome, must be valued as an opportunity for listening and sharing.
Read Church reform requires decentralization, synodality by Thomas Reese SJ
by Virginia Saldanha, Mumbai
The resignation of Pope Benedict XVI brought into public domain the numerous problems the institutional Church is besieged with but the election of a Latin American Pope brought us a ray of hope. A man with his ear to the ground, constantly “reading the signs of the time and interpreting it in the light of the gospel” (Gaudium et Spes, #; hereafter GS), he calls upon the entire Church to transform itself. He outlines the transformation in his first encyclical Evangeli Gaudium [hereafter EG].
In 1990 the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC), articulated their vision for the Church in Asia to promote the role of the People of God, in the mission of the Church in the modern world as well as to promote communion and solidarity with the poor and marginalized sections of society without distinction of class or faith.
My paper attempts to take a deeper look at the vision of the New Way of Being Church and examine how it can become a reality for a Church of the Future.
While it is easy for those of us in the reform movement to be impatient with the slowness of the Synod, we must also recognize that Pope Francis did get a 2/3 majority on some pressing issues. The purpose of our letter is to honor the good that come from the Synod, lay out our concerns for what didn't get done, and propose a plan for where to go from here. We invite you to make your voice heard by joining with other Reform Groups and individuals from around the world to sign this letter to Pope Francis wherein we acknowledge him for his personal involvement in bringing certain behaviors and lifestyles to the table which were formerly condemned as sinful. We support the resolve of the Synod to build a Church of adult Catholics but share with him what still causes us pain:
We conclude the letter by acknowledging that we recognize the work of the Synod has only just begun. To address our concerns, we find it is urgent that a reform of the governance structures and clerical culture of the Church be undertaken. We further request that all the People of God be invited to participate in what remains to be done. In the coming months and beyond, we ask the Holy Father to encourage Church leaders to promote gatherings of people, pastors and bishops, in their local churches and communities, to dialogue in a spirit of listening and compassionate encounter, about "difficulties and uncertainties which challenge and threaten the family." If you agree with these points, you may sign the letter as an individual or on behalf of your organization or both.
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