THE SERVANT GENERAL
THE WAY FORWARD
Brethren, I will be starting a new From the Servant General
series, which I am entitling “Synodos.” Here I
will be taking up matters relevant to what the III Extraordinary
General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops took up last October
2014, which will now be up for discussion and discernment
in the Church for a year, to be taken up again in the Ordinary
Synod of Bishops in October 2015. The theme for the assembly
last October was “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family
in the Context of Evangelization.” The theme for October
2015 will be “The Vocation and Mission of the Family
in the Church and in the Contemporary World.“
Since these themes are of utmost importance in the life of
the Church for the life of the world, and since we as laypeople
are as much, or even more so, concerned and affected about
what decisions will ultimately be made by the hierarchy, we
will take this one-year period to learn, study, reflect, discuss
and discern what the Spirit might be saying to God’s
Church. In this series, I will be offering my reflections,
insights and comments as issues come along, as a way of helping
provide guidelines, especially on what is essentially about
our charism, that of evangelization founded on family renewal.
I want to say right off that I am no theologian or expert
on Church matters. My inputs will be pastoral, especially
in light of our vision and mission in CFC-FFL. So please give
me the necessary leeway if ever there are lapses as to my
knowledge of Church structure or governance.
People refer to the event that transpired at the Vatican last
October as the “synod.” Actually, the “Synod
of Bishops” is a body. The event, on the other hand,
was the III Extraordinary General Assembly of that synod.
However, for brevity and simplicity, I too will refer to the
October events (2014 and 2015) as “the synod.”
The word “synod” comes from the Greek “Synodos”
meaning “assembly” or “meeting.”
The Synod of Bishops is an advisory body to the pope. It was
established by Pope Paul VI in 1965, intended to involve the
bishops of the world in looking to the good of the universal
Church. It is not intended for collegial governance but rather
for collaborating with the primatial function of the pope.
It discusses topics and makes recommendations, but decisions
and issuance of decrees are left to the pope (unless he grants
the synod deliberative power in certain cases). Its general
assemblies are either ordinary (held at fixed intervals) or
extraordinary (held to take up some urgent matter).
You may be surprised that this is already Part 4. As with
another series (On Pope Francis), I just make commentaries
on events and issues as they come along and as I am led, but
find out later that there will be much more needed to be said
about the matter. Anyway, what should be considered part of
this series are the following:
Part 1 -- Report and Reflections on the III Extraordinary
General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (Oct 23).
Part 2 -- Postscript on the Synod of Bishops (Oct 30)
Part 3 -- Relatio Synodi (Nov 3)
The Relatio Synodi is the basic document on which we are to
base our discussions and reflections. So please read, study
and refer to it time and again during this 12-month period.
I enjoin our leaders and brethren to continue forcefully with
the work the Lord has already given us all these years, to
indeed prepare us for the challenging work of the third millennium,
which we are now continuing to see evolving before our very
eyes. I had already laid out our three basic priorities in
our annual planning last Sept 13, as follows:
Massive evangelization (through CFC-FFL strategic evangelization
and through LCSC).
(2) Family Ministries (the crucial work of renewing the
family and defending life).
(3) Strengthening the community.
relation to concerns about the family, I direct the Family
Ministries to intensify their work. We have much to offer
the Church at large. In addition, in order to do massive work,
we have LCSC and its 4 pillars, which are all ultimately geared
toward family renewal. Live Pure is about reaching the young
with the gospel of purity (know that the challenges to the
family are most critical in the area of human sexuality),
Live the Word is about making Christ and the Bible the center
of a Christian home, Live Life is about strengthening marriages
and promoting a culture of life, and Live Full is about building
communities among the poor who make up most families throughout
the world. To greatly expand the work and according to the
vision of LCSC, we need to engage the parishes in this work.
Once again, our charism is evangelization founded on family
renewal. The challenges today in the Church are about the
family and evangelization. We are right on track. Indeed the
Lord raised CFC in 1981 to prepare and equip us for such crucial
work in this third millennium. Thus we are to massively proclaim
the gospel to the ends of the earth according to the call
to the New Evangelization, and we are to help renew and strengthen
Christian families in the world. All this work depends on
our own unity and strength as a community.
God bless us all.