Catholics around the world have begun the diocesan phase of preparation for the next general assembly of the Synod of Bishops
Catholics in France are still reeling from the findings of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) and feel more than ever the need for profound transformations in the life of their Catholic community.
That’s why the recent opening of the diocesan phase of preparations for the Synod of Bishops’ assembly on synodality came as a happy coincidence.
The laity, who have long lamented the lack of opportunities for expressing themselves in the Church, will be able to seize the synodal process to make themselves heard.
But this is on the condition that the proposed process is understood for what it really is.
This diocesan phase cannot simply be a place to vent grievances against the hierarchy. It must offer proposals.
However, this is not a democratic assembly where only recommendations that have won the support of a majority will prevail.
The synodal process must certainly allow for the expression of the great diversity of views that characterizes the Catholic community.
But it requires a fundamental disposition: the ability to listen to what each person, without exception, has to say for the good of the Church and its mission in the third millennium.
Any other attitude would inevitably lead us back to clericalism, which consists in believing oneself superior to others and which, we now know, opens the door to all sorts of abuse.
Dominique Greiner is a senior editor at La Croix, as well as a moral theologian and Assumptionist priest.
Reproduced with permission from La Croix International and Dominique Greiner.