Joseph Peter Calleja, Manila
Updated: October 11, 2021 09:39 AM GMT
Bishop Arturo Bastes said there could be no synod without discussing the present reality of the Catholic Church. (Photo: UCA News)
Philippine bishops have launched their plan in preparation for the 2023 Synod of Bishops.
Pope Francis on Oct. 9 opened the two-year process that leads to the Vatican gathering of bishops, which he said would address the formalism, intellectualism and temptation of complacency many Catholic prelates were facing.
“If we want to speak of a synodal Church, we cannot remain satisfied with appearances alone; we need content, means and structures that can facilitate dialogue and interaction within the People of God, especially between priests and laity,” said the pope during the opening program in Rome.
The Philippine bishops said the synod represents the life of the Catholic Church.
“A synod is not just an event; it is a journey. A synod is not just a meeting; it is the life of the Church. A synod is not just an assembly in view of administration; it is a convocation guided by the Spirit for the challenge of mission. St. John Chrysostom aptly said that the ‘Church and synod are synonymous,’” they said in a letter.
“What will happen in the next months? We will gather together in small circles in parishes, schools and basic ecclesial communities to pray together and ask the Spirit to lend us his eyes and mind and heart. We will look at two landscapes not with our eyes but with the eyes of the Lord.”
A synod that does not tackle the present condition of the Catholic Church, particularly the poor, is a dead synod
They likewise reiterated the questions of the pope in his introductory letter for the synod.
“How is this journeying together happening today in our local Church? How are the shepherds and the shepherded? How is the life of worship brought to the life of charity? How is faith lived and shared? How is our Church’s discipline and life?” the bishops asked.
The prelates urged Catholics to find inspiration from three actors in the Gospels.
“Our biblical inspiration comes from three actors (plus one). The first is Jesus who was sent to bring the Good News to the poor. The second is the crowd, the ‘everyone’ of humanity longing for salvation. The third is the apostles who guard the place of Jesus to make it easier for people to meet him,” the bishops added.
“We are not blind to the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has confronted us with. We cannot disregard the sexual and financial scandals in the Church and in government,” he told UCA News.
“A synod that does not tackle the present condition of the Catholic Church, particularly the poor, is a dead synod. That is why we need all need to be aware of the social reality of our country so that our bishops can bring this reality to the synod.”
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