07/01/2021, 12.25
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Card. Sako: Eastern Church model for a renewed synodality

The Chaldean primate explores themes and models of the new synod drawn up by Pope Francis. The hope that every continent will have a permanent assembly consisting of "a small number of bishops". Greater authority at individual conferences to face the “demanding challenges” of everyday life. The experience of the Eastern Churches.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - "To support the Holy Father's desire for greater synodality, one model would be that every continent have a sort of permanent synod, consisting of a small number of bishops" from the geographical area,” writes the Chaldean primate, Card. Louis Raphael Sako, in a message sent to AsiaNews.

In the missive the leader of the Chaldean church explores the guidelines drawn by Pope Francis on the synodal assembly. "The Roman Curia - continues the cardinal - is a valuable support, but the bureaucracy is exhausting and endless" having failed to adapt to modernity.

According to Patriarch Sako, it is equally important to "grant greater authority" to the Episcopal Conferences of individual countries, so that they can face "the demanding challenges" to which they are subjected on a daily basis and to be faced "with a sense of collegial responsibility". An approach, he warns him, that can prove useful "only by acting in harmony" with the pontiff "and remembering the bond that unites us with the successor of Peter".

As the Chaldean primate explains, the Catholic Church "is on the eve of a journey" desired by the Pope to "rediscover synodality" and favour "an individual and community maturation of the people of God".

In fact, in recent weeks the pontiff outlined the next Synod of Bishops in three phases, between October 2021 and the same month of 2023, which will take place in the Vatican and in each diocese. The objective of the diocesan phase is listening to the people of God, while the second and third phases will focus on the universal Church and the one on the way, emphasizing that the Synod is not an event but rather a process.

Card. Sako exalts the value of the experience of the Eastern Churches whose synod is "a canonical structure" that has operated "since the first centuries" and distinguishes between a "permanent" sphere of a patriarchal Church and a "general" one of its bishops, while maintaining "Collegiality and unity".

It "is a sign of the shared responsibility" of the bishops with the patriarch and "strengthens the centrality of the Church, strengthens the bonds of the individual Eparchies with each other and with the See of St. Peter, respecting diversity in unity".

“Synodality - continues the Chaldean patriarch - is likewise a distinctive trait of the journey of the whole universal Church. With the successor of Peter, the Church acts collegially despite the great variety "that composes it".

Its purpose, explains Cardinal Sako, is that of "constituting and forming the Christian community with wisdom and care, with particular attention to future generations. and allow each faithful to live their faith hic et nunc, spreading love and hope everywhere.”

Unity, he warns, does not mean “uniformity” and renewal is a “necessity that must be applied” in order to be “witnesses of the Risen one”.

"The invitation of Pope Francis is an opportunity to prepare the journey of the Church in an analytical way, starting from the smallest unit (involving every parish, every diocese, every episcopal conference) to reach the universal Church".

The synod of 2023 could be an opportunity to reflect "on pastoral guidelines, theological programs and administrative projects, starting from the concrete situations in which the Church lives and works". "The Eastern Churches - concludes the cardinal - can enjoy the spirituality emanating from synodality, as well as the methodology applied for the preparation of the themes" while the Western Church can "take advantage of the ancient and consolidated experience" of the Eastern ones.


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