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Quotes and news

Excerpts from reports presented by the working groups of synod fathers of the 13th Ordinary General As­sembly of the Synod of Bishops.

Parish and family

The German working group repor­ted: “The parish – or the ecclesial community – is the first place for evangelisation. However, we can see the strong changes that are happening in the parishes, which become even larger.

“Therefore, new evangelisation should create streets and squares of dialogue in the places where there are no contacts with the parish or with the small Christian community.

“The family is a privileged place for the transmission of the faith. However, many unions fail, therefore families break up.”

Women: ministry of lector

The Italian working group reported: “Many underlined the role of the parish in the transmission of the faith as a point for gathering together all the ecclesial realities present in its territory. The text should emphasise the task of the pastor as the first catechist in the parish.

“Reference was made to the possible ‘ministry instituted by the catechist’, as it is hoped that the ministry of lector be entrusted also to women, currently forbidden by canon law. There are also those who would appreciate that the synodal text express support to all the other ecclesial realities (the laity, families, groups, movements, consecrated persons) for their important con­tribution to evangelisation.”

‘Imbalance, disquiet’

The Spanish working group repor­ted: “New Evangelisation has to keep up with new times and with rapid changes, profound and universal (globalisation). Certainly we suffer crisis, which are both challenges and opportunities, which especially complicate the Christian life and transmission of faith, damage the image of the Church and obstruct the integration of many in the Christian community.

“We are worried about those peo­ple leaving the Church, sometimes in a clamorous fashion, at other times silently. What was, many years ago, sufficient in pastoral is no longer enough. We suffer imbalance, dissatisfaction and disquiet.

“The Church needs again to obey the Lord’s missionary mandate: ‘Go into the whole world at all latitudes, to all sectors of humanity, in their spiritual desert in riches and poverty, to proclaim the Gospel that focuses on the person of Jesus Christ, who died for us, who lives forever and accompanies us in all the paths of the world’.”

Secularisation and evangelisation

The French working group reported: “The group reflected, first of all, on the cultural context that presents the features of secularism as the last act in a much broader process of secularisation, which possesses elements of indisputable complexity.

“This horizon of thought has been considered both in the serious challenges posed to the faith and as an opportunity granted to the community of believers to renew their own categories of thought and language. Benedict XVI has on a number of occasions asserted the importance of ‘widening reason’.

“This commitment becomes more necessary the more one finds oneself in a cultural context strongly marked by the progress of science and technical reason.

“It is necessary to offer a new vision of anthropology, demon­strating the importance of the person as a relation, a source of inter­personal relationships, communion and love. It is necessary, in any case, to find the strength to reject several cultural frameworks imposed by secularism that no longer permit the recognition of the limits and contradictions of some styles of life.”

(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)

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