The European Network Church on the Move sees the theme of "synodality" of the next General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which has just been presented before Pentecost, as an evolution in line with the Gospel of the principle of "collegiality" already well restored at the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) by involving all the baptized men and women in order to take into account the "sensus fidelium" and the legitimate aspirations of the women and men of today.
From the point of view of our movements calling for reform, it is to be welcomed that the ambitious idea of a "synodal path" presented by the new General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, Cardinal Mario Grech, is a process, and not just a one-off event, which is binding on the universal Church, and involves
the participation of all believers, starting from the grassroots and benefiting from the diversity of contributions from the regions and continents.
But it will be necessary from the outset that this participation be thought of in decision-making terms and not be reserved for the bishops alone, and that a transparent structuring establishes the order of the different responsibilities. The valuable experiences of the Synodal Way currently underway in Germany as well as comparable processes, for example in Australia, Ireland, and Austria, are to be taken into account.
We believe that our European Network and its national and local groups have a responsibility to take in this process to enable all those people who are in or on the fringes of parishes and movements, who are neglected or even excluded by the religious institution, who have often lost all trust in the ecclesial structures, to express their expectations of the Church.
It also seems to us that this synodal process should be the occasion for a dialogue with the other Christian Churches which have all been engaged for a long time in various ways on this synodal path. This topic could be an opportunity for ecumenical dialogue.
The scandals of sexual abuse and abuse of power, the exclusion of women from all ordained offices, and an outdated doctrine, especially in the area of sexual morality, have led to an enormous loss of credibility of the Roman Catholic Church. It is therefore high time that a universal synodal path, without blinkers or restrictions, makes possible the contemporary inculturation of the Christian message in the various cultures. At the same time, this inculturation must propose to the peoples of the world a unique message of justice, peace and the safeguarding of creation. Only in this way will the Roman Catholic Church have a chance to regain its credibility and assume its responsibility for the future of world society.
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