Not only is there a new document out which changed the way the Synod (“walking together”) of Bishops runs, but a substantive supplemental document with more details (needed because the new document left things out) hasn’t yet been issued. The clock is ticking.
Before a Synod of Bishop convenes, a preliminary “working document” for the Synod’s meeting is issued. It is called in Latin an Instrumentum Laboris.
It seems that the IL for this upcoming Synod (on Young People) is… sub-par.
Archbp. Charles Chaput of Philadelphia – whom Archbp. Viganò says was personally maligned by Francis when they met for the first time (“[T]he Bishops in the United States must not be ideologized, they must not be right-wing like the Archbishop of Philadelphia!”) – received a summation of the IL from a noted theologian. It concerned him enough to offer it to a wider audience through First Things.
Over the past several months, I’ve received scores of emails and letters from laypeople, clergy, theologians, and other scholars, young and old, with their thoughts regarding the October synod of bishops in Rome focused on young people. Nearly all note the importance of the subject matter. Nearly all praise the synod’s intent. And nearly all raise concerns of one sort or another about the synod’s timing and possible content. The critique below, received from a respected North American theologian, is one person’s analysis; others may disagree. But it is substantive enough to warrant much wider consideration and discussion as bishop-delegates prepare to engage the synod’s theme. Thus, I offer it here:
If you are interested in the Synod (I think you should be), you should go to First Things and read the whole thing. Sample:
The IL upends the respective roles of the ecclesia docens and the ecclesia discens. The entire document is premised on the belief that the principal role of the magisterial Church is “listening.” Most problematic is §140: “The Church will have to opt for dialogue as her style and method, fostering an awareness of the existence of bonds and connections in a complex reality. . . . No vocation, especially within the Church, can be placed outside this outgoing dynamism of dialogue . . . . [emphasis added].” In other words, the Church does not possess the truth but must take its place alongside other voices. Those who have held the role of teacher and preacher in the Church must replace their authority with dialogue. (In this regard, see also §67-70).
There were serious problems with the Final Report – and the procedure surrounding it – from the last Synod. There were serious problems with the procedure of both the Synods on the Family.
Do you suppose, after the rigging of the last Synod, Zuhlio will have more to say about the Synod and present state of affairs?