In his video message, Cardinal Grech said: “This Synod is a spiritual journey, an event inspired and guided by the Spirit.

VATICAN CITY – Cardinal Mario Grech sent a video message to American bishops on Thursday, urging them to be forthright in sharing with the Vatican what they hear from people in their dioceses during local synod processes.

“Do not be afraid to tell us frankly what you have gathered by listening to your people about what the Spirit is saying to the Church: to your Church and to the whole Church,” Cardinal Grech said in the message published on November 18.

The Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops recorded a 14 minute video for the Fall Plenary Assembly of American Bishops, who explained how “synodality is a way of being Church”.

The cardinal said he wanted to define key aspects of synodality before the bishops begin their discussion of the synodal process in the United States.

A synod is a meeting of bishops gathered to discuss a subject of theological or pastoral importance, in order to prepare a document of advice or advice to the pope.

The Synod on Synodality, initiated by Pope Francis in October 2021, is a two-year global endeavor in which Catholics are encouraged to submit comments to their local dioceses.

“Contrary to what many assume, there are no written conclusions; there is no will to impose a line of thought. There is a willingness to listen to the Spirit by listening to one another, ”Cardinal Grech said in his video message.

“We also don’t believe that there are positions that are worth more than others. The will of the Secretariat is to encourage listening at all levels of the life of the Church and to engage itself in this process of listening in order to discover the voice of the living God.

American bishops should address the Synod on Synodality during their fall general assembly, in Baltimore, which ends Nov. 18.

Bishop Christophe Pierre, apostolic nuncio in the United States, discussed synodality in his speech to the assembly on November 16.

“I believe that synodality is a response to the challenges of our time and to the confrontation, which threatens to divide this country, and which also has its echoes in the Church”, declared Bishop Pierre.

Cardinal Grech explained that the Church is “constitutively synodal”, while always remaining “constitutively hierarchical”.

The chief synod organizer stressed that “the whole synodal process depends on the bishop”, from how he is initiated at the diocesan level to the final contributions submitted.

He described seven aspects of synodality to illustrate its core values ​​of “communion, participation and mission”.

These included rethinking the relationship between lay people and ordained ministries, seeking God’s will above one’s own, making an ongoing effort to invite everyone to participate, listening with charity, willingness to relinquish strong positions in favor of collective decision-making, to recognize how the Church has caused wounds, and to ask what kind of Church to present to the contemporary world today.

Pope Francis open the diocesan phase of the Synod of Synodality in October for a 10-month consultation process that will last until all episcopal conferences around the world submit summaries of their consultations on August 15, 2022.

A second continental phase will take place from September 2022 to March 2023 ahead of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops to be held at the Vatican in October 2023.

“The consultation of the People of God and the discernment of pastors take place in the Churches, and it is from listening to the Churches that the Instrumentum laboris [working document] will be written and delivered to the members of the Synod Assembly in October 2023, ”said Cardinal Grech.

In his video message, Cardinal Grech said: “This Synod is a spiritual journey, an event inspired and guided by the Spirit.

“The various testimonies that we have received, the creativity with which episcopal conferences, dioceses, parishes or associations organize the consultation of the People of God, are signs which confirm that the Spirit is at work.


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