Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Reports from the Synod of New Evangelization

Father Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, a monk of Mount Angel Abbey and a professor of systematic theology at Mount Angel Seminary, was recently appointed a theological consultant for the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization, a new department of the Vatican. 

In that capacity, Father Jeremy is attending the Synod of New Evangelizaton taking place in Rome this month.  In several posts over the next week, the journalism blog of Mount Angel Seminary will be publishing portions of the diary Father Jeremy is keeping during his time in the Synod.

We begin with his thoughts from October 11, 2012:

Today is the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council.  This past Sunday the Synod opened with a Mass in St. Peter's Square with Pope Benedict XVI.  As a peritus to the Synod, I was permitted to concelebrate, and this is the first time I have ever concelebrated with a pope.  On Monday the Synod's work began in the Synod Hall.  There was great energy in the room as the more than 250 cardinals, archbishops, and bishops - all called Synod Fathers - gathered with 45 periti and 50 auditors, 20 heads of religious orders.

The schedule is very demanding.  We listen to one talk after another by the Synod Fathers.  I was surprised and edified to see that the Pope attended all the sessions of the first and second days and part of yesterday's.  We experts are to listen for particular themes and then write them up in summary form for a talk that Cardinal Wuerl will give on Wednesday of next week.  Fr. Juan Xavier Flores (rector of Sant' Anselmo) and I were assigned to listen to the theme of liturgy, anything that touches on the liturgy in any way.

The view from Father Jeremy's seat in the Synod Hall

We meet mornings and afternoons.  Sometimes we hear longer talks.  For example, yesterday we heard Archbishop Rowan Williams.  He gave an outstanding talk, and it created a beautiful energy in the hall.

Yesterday we also met in "small" groups according to language.  I was put in a group of which Cardinal Gracias is the moderator and Archbishop Tartaglia of Glasgow the secretary.  There are 25 in our group, 18 bishops, and the rest being experts or auditors.  The first meeting, lasting some 3 hours, was very interesting for the variety of experiences: different African countries, Asia, Caribbean, USA, all in the same room.  Everywhere the experience of the Catholicity of the Church is very tangible.

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