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Continental Stage – Synod February 2023

February 17, 2023

On the synodal journey from Rome

In last month‘s Chronicle, we ended with the biblical quotation that accompanies this synodal phase. We are in the Continental stage of the synod. Meetings are already taking place on each continent. I will report on some of them. In particular, in January, a meeting was held in Luxembourg to provide a European contribution.

And it has been done precisely around the biblical theme that concerns us, which is the expansion of the tent. It is a totally synodal quote for what it says and for what it inspires because it is an inclusive, open text that leaves no one out.

Widen the space of your tent and the curtains of your rooms are extended; do not be measly, lengthen your ropes and strengthen your stakes. For you shall spread out on the right hand and on the left hand; and your descendants shall inherit the nations and dwell in the desolate cities (Isaiah 54:1-3).

The starting point was the synodal experiences; there was no desire to talk about theories. People have felt recognized, and listened to, and how could it be otherwise, they have felt active members and protagonists in the church, their home, their family, and their place of growth, contributing the best of each one, with co-responsibility in the common mission.

An important element of help has been spiritual discernment as a way of proceeding beyond debate and mere discussion. This discerned path leads us along the way of the Spirit, to whom we want to continue to listen together, through the Word and the signs of reality that speak to us of the joys and sufferings of our world.

In addition to the positive elements of joy and hope, there is no lack of obstaclesas on any road, based on resistance to change. “It has always been done this way” is a phrase that stops any process, or in a passive way by not taking part, being spectators but not always silent but creating fake news, phantoms, and attacks.

Certainly, if the synodal process does not translate into changes, first of mentality and then of structures, all the effort will have been of little use. A defeatist or skeptical attitude does not help, it is a brake. It is about rebuilding a way of being church where relationships are egalitarian, where we experience that we are all different, but members of the same Body which is Christ.

We need synodal conversion; it is also urgent to recognize our sins, to name them, to ask for forgiveness, not to hide them, and not to look the other way when so many people are wounded along the way.

But as God and the church are not an imposition but a proposal to which we say yes. or not in a free way, will help us overcome fears and regrets to get excited about a process of active belonging to a church that needs to count on the best of each person, and in which, together, with the ‘widening of the tent’, we may discover new times that are already sprouting’..

We need to sharpen our gaze and attune our ears to allow the novelty to reach us.

María Luisa Berzosa FI