WelCom News
A newspaper for the Wellington and Palmerston North Catholic Dioceses

Youth Synod document: A listening church

WelCom December 2018:

The Catholic Church and all its members must get better at listening to young people, taking their questions seriously, recognising them as full members of the church, patiently walking with them and offering guidance as they discern the best way to live their faith, the Synod of Bishops on Young people, the Faith and Vocational Discernment said in its report released late October.

The Synod began on October 3 and concluded with a Mass on October 28, 2018. It brought together 267 voting members – cardinals, bishops, 18 priests and two religious brothers – and 72 experts and observers, including men and women under 30, to discuss ‘young people, the faith and vocational discernment’.

The purpose was to reflect on the Church’s call ‘to accompany all young people, without exception, towards the joy of love’.

The final document was approved in the Synod Hall on Saturday, October 27.

The document’s focus was on improving ways to support young Catholics’ baptismal call to holiness, to welcome the contributions they make to the church and help them in their process of growing in faith and in deciding the state of life that would best correspond to what God wants from them.

Topics included synodality, human sexuality, women within the Church, the issue of abuse, migration, the digital age, art, music and sport, violence and persecution, suffering, education, and seminary formation.

The report platforms a Church which listens, ‘walks with’ people, gives women a role in decision-making and ends governance by ‘issuing edicts from on high’. It stresses the ‘urgency of an unavoidable change’ in approach. It also stresses the need to accompany gay Catholics, ‘to recognise the desire to belong and contribute to the life of the community’ and ‘discern’ how this can take place.

The emphasis on listening to young people led to an emphasis on the church renewing communities and structures for a ‘synodal church’ where all members listen to, support and challenge one another and share responsibility for the church’s one mission of spreading the Gospel.

The report also touches on the work of the Spirit in the life of the Church, vocation, the art of discerning, formation of the conscience, the role of young people in renewing the parish community, and the centrality of the liturgy in the life of the Church.

It acknowledges how, in some countries, young people are moving away from the church or question its teachings, especially on sexuality. The church’s response, the synod said, must be a commitment of time and patience as it helps young people ‘grasp the relationship between their adherence to faith in Jesus Christ and the way they live their affectivity and interpersonal relationships.’

The Synod of Bishops’ report is in three parts – 12 chapters, 167 paragraphs and 60 pages – each titled after parts of the New Testament account of Jesus meeting his disciples on the road to Emmaus:

– He walked with them;

– Their eyes were opened;

– They set out at once.

Each part contains chapters and smaller sections within the chapters.

Source: CathNews NZ