Venezuelan lay theologian and advisor to the Synod of Bishops, Professor Rafael Luciani, has described the 2023 Synod Assembly on Synodality, as the “most important event since Vatican II” and one that signifies a “turning point” in the way the Church approaches the Council.
Professor Luciani, who will deliver the inaugural Cardijn Lecture for the Australian Cardijn Institute on 13 November, added that the Synod preparation process, which launched globally this month, will be centred on “the ecclesiology of the People of God,” which was first introduced by the Council and has been emphasised many times by Pope Francis.
This idea, he says, means that the relationship between the People of God and Church is “not hierarchical anymore” and “differentiated, but complementary”.
A “bishop needs the other, including priests and lay people,” which changes the whole relationship, he explained. “This is what co-responsibility is all about.”
According to Prof. Luciani, another key novelty of the 2023 Synod will be the enhanced involvement of theologians in the process of listening and discernment aimed at creating this new synodal Church and the inclusion of theological reflection in the structures of the Church. In this sense, it is a real “kairos” moment for the Church.
“We don’t have theological reflection on one side, and people on the other, saying: ‘How do we bring that into the real structures in the Church’.”
“My expectation and hope that there will be a real dialogue and consensus.”
Speaking to NCR Online, Prof. Luciani added that the aim is an enhanced “new ecclesial way of proceeding inspired by a practice of transparency and accountability.”
Dr Elissa Roper, who completed her PhD on “Synodality and Authenticity: Towards a Contemporary Ecclesiology for the Catholic Church” at Yarra Theological Union and the University of Divinity this year, will respond to Rafael’s presentation.
Previously, Elissa was also a member of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne’s Ecumenical and Interfaith Commission. She was a member of the Victorian Council of Church’s Faith and Order Commission for six years, and is currently the VCC Liaison Officer on the Board of the Jewish Christian Muslim Association of Australia.
The event will be co-hosted by the US Cardijn Network and Pax Romana USA.
Professor Rafael Luciani will deliver the inaugural ACI Cardijn Lecture on the theme “The Emergence of Synodality: The Latin American Experience.” This lecture, which will be livestreamed, will take place on Saturday 13 November at 1pm AEDT (Friday evening 12 November US time).
To register for the webinar, please visit https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYqdOivrTIuE9EcJaLYu9tRAawD2fxbyjby