Educate faithful about synodality despite some who prefer to maintain things the way they are, Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga tells Ecclesial Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean
The coordinator of the council of cardinals that advises Pope Francis on the reform of the Catholic Church’s central government has told participants of the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean gathering in Mexico about the urgency of renewing the Church in innovative ways with ideas that reform and revitalize.
Honduran Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa was via video message addressing participants — priests, religious, consecrated persons and lay people (men and women) — of the Ecclesial Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean, being held November 21 – 28 in Mexico City.
He said he was happy to see that this meeting was not just “a dialogue of intellectuals or religious aristocracy”.
Participants at the assembly comprise of 20 percent bishops, 20 percent religious, 20 percent clergy, and 40 percent lay men and women.
The 40 percent representation of the laity, the cardinal said, “corresponds to what can be called the peripheries, so within the assembly, they will carry the voices of migrants, refugees, victims of trafficking, as missionary disciples, to vindicate their role within the Church”.
Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga said the assembly intends to respond to the basic question of what are the new challenges for the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The process of the assembly has as its objective, “to revitalize the Church in a new way, offering ideas that reform and reanimate,” to be an ecclesial event that is synodal, involving all roles in the Church and with a representative, inclusive and participative methodology, said Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga.
He added that the aim is also to allow for a renewed appreciation of the ideas discussed at the 2007 meeting of bishops in Aparecida, Brazil, in order to plan for the future with an eye to progress made in the past and themes that are ever-relevant today.
The assembly is part of the Latin American Church’s tradition of meeting approximately every 15 years to determine the major pastoral orientations for the region. In 2007 in Aparecida participants were only the Latin American bishops.
Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga expressed the hope that this assembly would be a sign that can be shared with other continents and which can help bring about fruitful outcomes.
He said that despite the pandemic, preparations for the assembly began with a commission looking at content, which worked from June to September of last year with the methodology of seeing, judging and acting as a central way to achieve greater synodality “in all areas of our Church”.
Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga pointed out that the 70,000 participants in the recommended personal, community, group and thematic forums did not just consist of simply collecting data and statistics, but marked a compassionate encounter of dialogue and contemplation with the people and communities.
The assembly brings together elected representatives from each episcopal conference and includes those participating in person and online.
“Two pre-assemblies have already been held and the end of this process brought about the publication of the Document for Discernment ten days ago. It was drafted from the multiple contributions of the People of God taking part in the listening process”, said Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga.
The active participation of so many people “has been a grace, a strong experience of synodality”, he said, as the document states, “Let us walk together as pilgrims, in love with the Gospel, open to the surprises of the Spirit!”
Reproduced with permission from La Croix International.