Monday, 26 October 2015

Synod15: the community of those who walk with Jesus

Francis closing mass

Two days ago, in the Vatican press conference, Cardinal Schönborn provided a great synthesis of what this Synod was about:
"I think that the principal message of this Synod is the theme of the Synod: that the Catholic Church around the world, with one billion and 200 million Catholics, have discussed the topic of marriage and the family for two years, with all its positives aspects and difficulties ... This alone is a remarkable fact for our time, because the core of the message is this: a great yes to the family. The success of this Synod for me is a great yes to the family; that the family is not over, not an old model, but that it is a fundamental model of human society."
Then, regarding the question of the divorced and remarried, Cardinal Schönborn focused on discernment:
"[I]n this diversity and unity in collegiality, the question that has long interested the press but also many of our people [is] the situation of the divorced and remarried. We spoke about it, spoke about it very carefully, but the key word is the word "discernment". And I invite you all to think that there is no black or white, no simple "yes" or "no": there is to be discernment. And this is the word of St. Pope John Paul in "Familiaris Consortio" from 1984, when he says, it is obligatory, out of love for the truth, that the pastors exercise discernment because the situations are different and there is a need for the discernment of Pope Francis, good Jesuit, formed by the Exercises of St. Ignatius, this "discernment" that he learned already when young: trying to understand the situation of this couple, of that person."
Last week also saw the publication of an interview with Archbishop Paul-André Durocher, who spoke about the universal need for mercy and the actions of the Holy Spirit beyond the confines of Church teaching:
"Instead of speaking about “good families” and “hurt families,” in my small group there was a real recognition that we are all hurting and in need of God’s mercy. Mercy isn’t just for a certain category of people. We all stand in the need of God’s mercy. And, at the same time, the Spirit is working in a lot of situations that, on the face of it, do not correspond to church teaching."
The Belgian Bishop Luc Van Looy also spoke in similar terms, when he said:
"This Synod inaugurates the Church of tenderness and declares the end of the Church that divides the world into those who are good and those who bad. Not distinguishing between good families and bad families, will speak clearly of the tenderness that the Church wants to show towards any family situation."
Cardinal João Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, has in the meantime also published the text of his intervention at the Synod, in which he said:
"The Word of God does not present God only as a perfect Spirit, creator of heaven and earth, (as declared in the Christian Doctrine’s Second Catechism), but affirms that “God is love” (1 John 4,8.16). Saint Augustine tried to delve deeper into the path of love in God and reached the point of affirming that God is the Lover, the Beloved, and Love itself. However, he felt incapable of pursuing this path and bequeathed to us the deepening of this mystery in man and woman, in the three qualities of intelligence, memory and will. But what remained to be fully developed was the deeper understanding of the mystery of God who is Love. [...]

What is love? How can we understand and experience love? Our pathway must be found in the pathway of Him who came to us from the bossom of the Father, that is, the Son. To meet man, God who is love made himself nothing (Nazareth, Mary, Joseph, Bethlehem, the flight to Egypt. The Cross) (cf. Philippians 2:5-11).

Love passes through the incarnation and the mystery of the resurrection. Love makes itself nothing to be able to meet the other. This is the Kenotic dimension of love. Without this path it would be difficult for man and woman to find that relationship with God, but also with each other, whether man or woman. In this sense I think we could find the Trinitarian path of anthropology, not only theoretically but concretely."
And, finally, let's conclude with Pope Francis' words from the closing mass of the Synod, celebrated yesterday, where he warns against a "scheduled faith":
"There is a [...] temptation, that of falling into a “scheduled faith”. We are able to walk with the People of God, but we already have our schedule for the journey, where everything is listed: we know where to go and how long it will take; everyone must respect our rhythm and every problem is a bother. We run the risk of becoming the “many” of the Gospel who lose patience and rebuke Bartimaeus. Just a short time before, they scolded the children (cf. 10:13), and now the blind beggar: whoever bothers us or is not of our stature is excluded. Jesus, on the other hand, wants to include, above all those kept on the fringes who are crying out to him. They, like Bartimaeus, have faith, because awareness of the need for salvation is the best way of encountering Jesus. In the end, Bartimaeus follows Jesus on his path (cf. v. 52). He did not only regain his sight, but he joined the community of those who walk with Jesus."