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Gerard O'Connell: Pope Gives Bishops a Synod 'Bill of Rights'

7. okt. 2014 

Gerard O'Connell, America Magazine, skriver bl.a.:

In a major break with past praxis, almost 50 years after Paul VI first established the synod of bishops, Pope Francis has given the synod fathers the key elements for synodality, something akin to a bill of rights that creates a climate of freedom.

He did so at the start of the synod’s first plenary session on Oct. 6, when he addressed the methodology of synodality, and told the 191 synod fathers participating in this assembly to say what they really think, and do so in total freedom and without fear of consequences.

“You bring the voice of the particular churches, gathered at the level of local churches through the bishops’ conferences...” he told them. “You bring this voice in synodality. It’s a great responsibility: you bring the realities and the ‘problematics’ of the churches, to help them to walk on that way which is the Gospel of the family.”

But there is “one basic general condition” for the proper exercise of synodality, he said: “Speak clearly. Let no one say, 'this can't be said, they will think this or that about me....' One must say everything that one feels, boldly!” (He used the Greek word parrhesia, which means ‘with boldness” or ‘candidly.’)

He revealed that after the Consistory of Cardinals in February 2014 (which focused on the family), “a Cardinal wrote to me saying that it was a pity that some cardinals did not have the courage to say certain things out of respect for the pope, thinking perhaps that the pope thought differently.”

Commenting on that, the pope said: “This is not good – it is not synodality, because it is necessary to say everything that in the Lord we feel must be said: without human respect, without timidity.”

“At the same time – he insisted - we must listen with humility and accept with an open heart all that our brothers say.”

“With these two attitudes synodality is achieved,” the pope stated.

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