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Synod fathers meet in groups: proposals for worldwide mission, women lectors

October 22, 2012

As the second week of the Thirteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops drew to a close, a dozen working groups of synod fathers presented their reports on various aspects of the synod’s theme, “The New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith.”

“is it necessary to speak of ‘new evangelization’ or rather of a renewed evangelization, or even a renewal or deepening of evangelization?” asked Archbishop Claude Dagens of Angoulême on behalf of French-language Working Group B. “The current work of evangelization is part of a history that precedes us by many centuries.”

Among its 11 reflections, English-language Working Group D, according to a report by Bishop Kieran O’Reilly of Killaloe (Ireland), was a reference to the “consequences of the sexual revolution for the family and the redefinition on marriage. It was noted that this stems from a rebellion to Humanae Vitae.”

French-language Working Group A, according to a report by Bishop Dominique Rey of Fréjus-Toulon, noted that “beauty could be a path for the revelation of the Mystery of God, following what has happened in the Church’s history. In an era disappointed by the profusion of speeches and where we are suspicious of all forms of dogmatism, the search for beauty could be a path towards God. Through beauty, faith is stated and proclaimed.”

“The group intends to propose the idea of a world mission of evangelization, which will be launched by the Holy Father’s initiative and could be inscribed in the dynamism of the Year of the Faith,” Bishop Rey added.

Italian-language Working Group C, according to a report by Father F. Renato Salvatore, superior general of the Camillians, observed that “reference was made to the possible ‘ministry instituted by the catechist,’ as it is hoped that the ministry of lector be entrusted also to women, currently forbidden by canon law (can. 230).”

Currently, the lay ministries of the lectorate and acolytate are reserved to men alone, while lay persons of either sex, with the approval of the episcopal conference, may fulfill their tasks in the absence of an officially instituted lector or acolyte.

“Every now and then in the interventions there emerged some difficulties present within the Church, in particular at the level of the parish, between the different realities operating therein,” Father Salvatore added. “This is a very broad issue but may be generically expressed as tension (not always negative) between hierarchy and prophecy, between institution and charisma.”

“Christian politicians should be coherent with their faith without giving in to compromise, rather allowing themselves to be guided, especially in moral questions, by an upright conscience and non-negotiable values,” Father Salvatore added.

Speaking on behalf of English-language Working Group B, Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham offered practical suggestions:

Fostering some practical initiatives would assist the New Evangelization and catechesis: Lectio Divina, teaching prayer, making the Sacred Scriptures and the Sacrament of Penance more readily available (perhaps through offering the Sacrament at new times and on a consistent basis during Lent or Advent), pilgrimages, sharing the stories of the saints and martyrs, and making known the excellent work and ministry undertaken by Catholic institutions and apostolates.


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  • Posted by: - Oct. 22, 2012 5:27 PM ET USA

    No women lectors? Oh, I see. Is it aggressive feminism that's controlling here rather than Canon Law??