SYNOD: The Synod invites us to be CHURCH

by Sister Clare Marie Beichner, SSJ

The mission of the Church is realized through the lives of all the baptized. There is a deep desire to recognize and reaffirm this common dignity as the basis of renewal of life and ministries in the Church. We share a co-responsibility to value all vocations, in the invitation to follow Jesus, returning to his style and way of exercising power and authority as a means of offering healing, reconciliation, and liberation. “It is important to build a synodal institutional model as an ecclesial paradigm of deconstructing pyramidal power that privileges unipersonal managements.  The only legitimate authority in the Church must be that of love and service, following the example of the Lord.” EC Argentina (#57).

Many express a deep appreciation and affection for faithful and dedicated priests and concerns about the many demands that they face. There is a common desire for better formed, better accompanied, and less isolated priests and less clericalism so all the laity and priests can fulfill their common mission. The working document depicts clericalism as a form of spiritual impoverishment and a culture that isolates clergy and harms the laity, which includes rigidity, attachment to legalistic power, and authority that is power rather than service.    

There is a new sense of hope and desire for renewed forms of leadership—priestly, episcopal, religious, and lay—that is relational and collaborative and forms of authority capable of generating solidarity and co-responsibility.  “The tasks of the authorities include encouraging, involving, leading, and facilitating participation in the life of the Church (…) and delegating part of their responsibilities” EC Slovakia (#59).

A corresponding call to quality faith formation, seminary training, and education for all laity is a part of this lived reality for a more involved and informed Church. We are called to do our part by being informed and actively participating in the Church we love.

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