Pope tells Italian bishops that a great Synod cannot be done without going to the base
At the opening the Bishops’ Assembly, Francis referred to a “possible" synod of the Italian episcopate. He called on its members to reflect on "any lack of collegiality and participation in the condition of the Conference".
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – The Italian Church is preparing its synod. Pope Francis spoke about it today at the start of the Assembly of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Italy (CEI), which opened today in the Vatican until 23 May on the theme ‘Modalities and tools for a new missionary presence’.
The Pope, who as the bishop of Rome is also the primate of the Italian Church, mentioned the "possibility" of a synod during a speech he delivered on synodality and collegiality, marriage reform, and the relationship between bishops and priests.
"If someone thinks of organising a Synod of the Italian Church, we must start from the bottom up and the top down, with the Florence document,” he said. "This will give us time, but we will walk on the safe side and not on ideas."
"With respect to a probable Synod of the Italian Church, I heard rumours lately. They even reached Santa Marta,” Francis said. “There are two directions,” he explained.
“Synodality from the bottom up, i.e. taking care of the existence and proper functioning of dioceses, councils, parishes, involvement of the laity . . . Starting with the dioceses: you cannot make a great synod without going to the base. The evaluation of the role of the laity."
For Francis, synodality is "the medical file that describes the state of health of the Italian Church".
Referring to what he said on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Synod of Bishops, on 17 October 2015, Francis reiterated that he wanted to "clarify that the path of synodality is the path that God expects from the Church of the third millennium. It is a constitutive dimension of the Church, so that what the Lord asks of us, in a certain sense, is already contained in the word Synod.”
The pontiff then extensively spoke about the 2017 International Theological Commission on Synodality, according to which "synodality, in the ecclesiological context, indicates the specific modus vivendi and operandi of the Church as people of God".
Synodality is about "the involvement of all the people of God in the life and mission of the Church", whilst collegiality "specifies the theological meaning and the form of exercise of the Synod of bishops", entrusted to the particular Church and in communion of the one Church of Christ, "through the hierarchical communion of the episcopal college with the bishop of Rome".
In this respect, Francis urged the CEI to reflect on "any lack of collegiality and participation in the condition of the Conference, both in determining pastoral plans and in economic-financial planning commitments."