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  • Writer's pictureThe Hermit of Antipolo

The Way Forward (Synodos Part 4)

In this “Synodos” series, I will be taking up matters relevant to what the III Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops took up last October 2014, which will now be up for discussion and discernment in the Church for a year, to be taken up again in the Ordinary Synod of Bishops in October 2015. The theme for the assembly last October was “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” The theme for October 2015 will be “The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World.“

Since these themes are of utmost importance in the life of the Church for the life of the world, and since we as laypeople are as much, or even more so, concerned and affected about what decisions will ultimately be made by the hierarchy, we will take this one-year period to learn, study, reflect, discuss and discern what the Spirit might be saying to God’s Church. In this series, I will be offering my reflections, insights and comments as issues come along, as a way of helping provide guidelines, especially on what is essentially about our charism, that of evangelization founded on family renewal.

I want to say right off that I am no theologian or expert on Church matters. My inputs will be pastoral, especially in light of our lay calling as priest, prophet and king.

People refer to the event that transpired at the Vatican last October as the “synod.” Actually, the “Synod of Bishops” is a body. The event, on the other hand, was the III Extraordinary General Assembly of that synod. However, for brevity and simplicity, I too will refer to the October events (2014 and 2015) as “the synod.” The word “synod” comes from the Greek “Synodos” meaning “assembly” or “meeting.”

The Synod of Bishops is an advisory body to the pope. It was established by Pope Paul VI in 1965, intended to involve the bishops of the world in looking to the good of the universal Church. It is not intended for collegial governance but rather for collaborating with the primatial function of the pope. It discusses topics and makes recommendations, but decisions and issuance of decrees are left to the pope (unless he grants the synod deliberative power in certain cases). Its general assemblies are either ordinary (held at fixed intervals) or extraordinary (held to take up some urgent matter).

The Relatio Synodi (see Synodos Part 3) is the basic document on which we are to base our discussions and reflections. So please read, study and refer to it time and again during this 12-month period.

I enjoin our leaders and brethren to continue forcefully with the work the Lord has already given us all these years, to indeed prepare us for the challenging work of the third millennium, which we are now continuing to see evolving before our very eyes. All the more, we see three basic priorities as follows:

(1) Massive evangelization.

(2) Defense and strengthening of the family.

(3) Strengthening the community.

We need to intensify our work. We have much to offer the Church at large. In addition, in order to do massive work, we have the Live Christ Share Christ (LCSC) mission and its 5 pillars, which are all ultimately geared toward family renewal. Live Pure is about reaching the young with the gospel of purity (know that the challenges to the family are most critical in the area of human sexuality), Live the Word is about making Christ and the Bible the center of a Christian home, Live Life is about strengthening marriages and promoting a culture of life, Live Full is about building communities among the poor who make up most families throughout the world, and Live the Faith is about knowing and defending the authentic Catholic faith. To greatly expand the work and according to the vision of LCSC, we need to engage the parishes in this work.

Once again, evangelization and family renewal are of crucial importance. The challenges today in the Church are about the family and evangelization. We are right on track. Thus we are to massively proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth according to the call to the New Evangelization, and we are to help renew and strengthen Christian families in the world. All this work depends on our own unity and strength as a community.

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