Monday, October 29, 2012

The Synod of the New Evangelization - Part IV

We continue with the publication of the diary that Father Jeremy Driscoll has been keeping while he has been in Rome taking part in The Synod of the New Evangelization.  He offers a lengthy entry for October 22 that will be divided into two posts.

Readers may find Part I, Part II, and Part III of Father Jeremy's diary on the MAS Journalism blog.

Monday, October 22, 2012:

The Synod was so busy last week that there literally was no chance to record impressions, even if I had many.  Today, Monday, the Synod as a whole is not meeting.  The bishops who were elected recorders of the language groups and other helpers have used the weekend and today to assemble into one list a set of propositions generated by us last week in twelve different language groups.

Last week we spent several more days listening to individual interventions by the bishops, with me refining the technique of dealing with the tedium of this as described in my entry of October 13.  So the richness is just piling up.  On Wednesday Cardinal Wuerl gave a midway summary of what had been said so far, and we were to hear this and bring it to our language groups, divided by language, to work toward formulating propositions.

I very much enjoy my language group work.  Just for the record I want to note some of the countries present in my English-speaking language group, just to give some idea of the breadth of perspective that I had after two days of working with them:

Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay

Cardinal Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi

Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Commission for Justice and Peace

Archbishop Chinnappa of Madras

Archbishop Esua of Bamenda, Cameroon

Archbishop Ferrao of Goa

Archbishop Kovithvanaji of Bangkok

Archbishop Molina Palma of Los Altos (Guatemala)

Archbishop Pinder of Nassau in the Bahamas

Archbishop Souraphiel of Addis Ababa in Ethiopia

Archbishop Tartaglia of Glasgow

Archbishop John Wong Soo Kau of Malaysia-Singapore-Brunei

Bishop Badejo of Oyo, Nigeria

Bishop Winston Sebastian Fernando of Badulla, Sri Lanka

Bishop Kicanas of Tucson

Bishop Ladjar of Jayapura, Indonesia

Bishop Mafi of Tonga

Bishop Separy of Aitape, Papua New Guinea

Father Jose Panthaplamthottiyil, the Prior General of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate in India

There are three other experts besides me: Mme. Anna Kai-Yung Chan from Macao, China; Dr. Petroc Willey from Great Britian, Father Nielnicki from Drohiczinensi, Poland.

As auditors were Father de Guzman from Makati City in the Philippines; Mme. Patricia Nwachkwu from Nigeria; Zoltan Kunszabo, a married deacon from Budapest, and Mr. Manoj Sunny from Kerala, India.

As a fraternal delegate we had Dr. Timothy George, representing the World Baptist Alliance and coming from Beeson Divinity School of Samford University in Alabama.


So we were in a room all day Thursday and part of Friday trying to craft propositions for the whole body of bishops.  There were so many points of view, so many concerns; but in the end we managed to come to some kind of consensus.  It was the decision of the moderator how much or not the experts would participate in the discussion.

The reason for the possible distinction is that this is a Synod of bishops, and in strict sense theological experts would only intervene if there were some sort of technical theological question or even error unfolding.  But in our group Cardinal Garcias gave us permission to be completely involved in the discussion.  In part I'm sure this stems from our nearly ten years of work together in Vox Clara.

In any case, I was glad for this opportunity, and as our work advanced many of the other bishops told me they appreciated my contributions. In the end, I was able to influence propositions that put the mystery of the Trinity and our share in it as the fundamental content of new evangelization.  Or, from another direction, a proposition that draws attention to our entry into trinitarian life in Baptism and then regularly sustained through the Eucharist.

I was also able to push at least an effort on the part of us Catholics to recover Sunday as the Lord's Day, knowing well that we increasingly are up against a culture that would rather spend Sundays in other ways.  Finally, I urged we stress the absolute novelty of the Incarnation and Resurrection as the distinctive message of Christianity, a message never to be exhausted and amazing to any and all who hear it with open hearts.

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