Let's all sing a solemn Te Deum!
Philippa Hitchen of Vatican Radio makes some comments on the end of the synod. Nothing here that indicates anything but we can now give thanks it is over!
Vatican Radio It’s
hard to describe the mix of emotions that washed around the Synod Hall
on Saturday at the close of this three week meeting. Elation,
exhaustion, incredulity and relief were certainly among the reactions I
heard from Synod Fathers as they worked their way painstakingly through
all 94 points of their lengthy final text. Surprisingly similar, I
thought, to that indescribable blend of emotions that most mothers
experience as they give birth to a new life.
There’s no denying there have been labour pains over the past weeks
here, as tensions surfaced and fears were expressed, both in public and
on the pages of letters sent to the Pope and members of the organizing
committee. In the small groups and in the open debates, strong words and
provocative language has been bandied around, both by those seeking
some new developments in Church teaching and by those who resist any
openings towards people in so–called irregular situations of
cohabitation, remarriage or same-sex relationships.
Yet the final document has been welcomed by most as a carefully
crafted work of art which seeks to balance the very different views and
cultural perspectives of all Synod participants. Rather than producing
any groundbreaking theological developments, it showcases a new, more
inclusive way of working, which began with the questionnaires sent out
to families around the world and concluded with the intense small group
discussions inside the Synod Hall.
Inevitably, the more open, frank discussions of difficult issues,
encouraged by Pope Francis at the start of the 2014 Synod, has required a
new methodology to find agreement acceptable to all sides, without
settling for a lowest common denominator. The key word in this process –
unsurprisingly under a Jesuit Pope – is discernment, or the ability to
listen, learn and respond to personal stories. Starting from the bible,
the catechism and the teaching of popes past and present, pastors are
encouraged to open doors and engage with every person and every family,
not judging or condemning, but welcoming and caring for each individual
While the joys and sorrows of family life have been the main focus of
discussions, the bishops have really been learning a new way of
relating to each other in the family of the Church. Half a century on
from establishment of the Synod of bishops, these Church leaders are
moving towards a new way of collaborating more closely with each other
and with the pope, respecting differences, while at the same time
realizing the value of diversity.
You could call it a growing up and coming of age of that synodality
that was born during the Second Vatican Council. Few of those Council
Fathers are around today to witness the joy all parents feel as they
watch their children mature and make their way in the world. But just as
the document born during this Synod stresses the role of each
generation in nurturing and handing on the faith, so today’s Synod
Fathers will be looking back with gratitude as they strive to respond
more effectively to the challenges facing the Church in the contemporary
My comment: If this synod has been an exercise in maturity, I'd love to know what an immature synod looks like! YIKES!