The synod that Pope Francis called has just completed the second stage of its reflections. The themes that were discerned included: Leadership & Service; Missionary activity, The Role of the laity; The centrality of the family; Ecumenism; Interreligious dialogue; Evangelization in a digital world with attention to those who do not have access to digital media; Lay Ministries; Clericalism that hinders communion; The role of women in the church including inclusive language and the matter of female deacons; Initial and ongoing training of both priests and laypeople. The next phase of the synod will look at “Participation Governance and Authority. Pope Francis hopes that this Synod is modelling how we as a church can be in the world by pausing to listen, pray and discern where the Spirit of God is guiding us at this time.
This week the Synod continued in Rome with the commencement of the next module of discernment entitled. “A communion that radiates: How can we be more fully a sign and instrument of union with God and of the unity of all humanity?” In the language of the Second Vatican Council the Synod reflected on the mission of the Church to be in Christ, the sign and instrument of unity with God and all humanity. In the introductions the participant were reminded that communion is the beauty of diversity in the midst of unity. That communion exists in concrete, tangible realities such as “the life that offers bread for the hungry, healing for the suffering, rest for the troubled”. Thirdly, communion was presented as the participation that ties us to others across time and space. In short it is open for everybody,
everywhere. Their discussions, prayer and discernment were to be focuses on the question of a dignified communion where the Church encounters Christ who already sits at table with the poorest. Included in the topics for discernment were migrants, those who suffer abuse, those who are not accepted and welcomed for whatever reason and the issue of sexual identity.