Quotes and news
More abridged versions of some of the 58 concrete proposals submitted by the bishops to Pope Benedict at the end of the 13th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.
Proposition 27: Schools must be free to teach. This freedom is an inalienable right. For this reason, in order to ensure that our institutions are agents of evangelisation and not just products of evangelisation, the synod encourages Catholic educational institutions to do all that is possible to preserve their identity as ecclesial institutions.
Proposition 31: Today there are new poor and new faces of poverty: the hungry, the homeless, the sick and abandoned, drug addicts, migrants and the marginalised, political and environmental refugees, the indigenous peoples.
The current economic crisis seriously affects the poor. Among the poorest in contemporary society are the victims of grievous loss of respect for the inviolable dignity of innocent human life. The preferential option for the poor leads us to seek out the poor and to work on their behalf so that they may feel at home in the Church. They are both recipients and actors in the new evangelisation.
Proposition 33: The sacrament of penance and reconciliation is the privileged place to receive God’s mercy and forgiveness. The synod fathers ask that this sacrament be put again at the centre of the pastoral activity of the Church.
Every priest should consider the sacrament of penance an essential part of his ministry and of the new evangelisation and in every parish community a suitable time should be set apart for hearing confessions.
Proposition 34: Even though there is a tension between the Christian Sunday and the secular Sunday, Sunday needs to be recovered for the new evangelisation. Sunday, with its sacred and special character, together with Sunday Mass, should be the centre of Catholic life. Full, active and conscious participation in the liturgy on the part of the whole community is the goal.
The liturgical year with its feasts should be followed by a true programme of evangelisation, especially at Christmas and Easter.
Proposition 36: We propose that prayer be encouraged and taught from infancy. Children and youth should be educated in the family and in schools to recognise the presence of God in their lives, to praise Him, to give thanks for the gifts received from Him and to ask that the Holy Spirit guide them.
Proposition 39: Popular piety is a true place to encounter Christ, and also express the faith of the Christian people in the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints. The new evangelisation recognises the value of these faith experiences and encourages them as ways to grow in Christian virtue.
Proposition 45: The vocation and the mission proper to lay faithful is the transformation of worldly structures, to let all human behaviour and activities be informed by the Gospel. This is why it is so important to guide the Christian laity into an intimate knowledge of Christ to form their moral conscience through their life in Christ.
Proposition 46: The Church appreciates the equal dignity of women and men in society as made in the image of God and in the Church based on their common vocation as baptised into Christ.
The Church’s pastors have recognised the special capacities of women, such as their attention to others and their gifts for nurture and compassion, most especially in their vocation as mothers. Women together with men witness to the Gospel of life through their dedication to transmission of life in the family. Together they help to keep the faith alive.
The synod acknowledges that today, women (lay and religious) together with men contribute to theological reflection at all levels and share pastoral responsibilities in new ways, thus carrying forward the new evangelisation for the transmission of the faith.
(Compiled by Fr Joe Borg)