Rome, November 23, 2021
This morning, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Mario Grech, spoke at the 75th General Assembly of the Italian Bishops' Conference underway at the Ergife Palace Hotel in Rome.
Illustrating the synodal path that will lead to the celebration of the Synod of Bishops in October 2023, Cardinal Grech stressed the importance of maturing a synodal style: "Obtaining results without maturing a synodal style would consign the Church to a disappointment that would compromise the future of synodality and the Church itself. I repeat: it is better for the People of God in our Churches to confront the fundamental question, rather than to talk about anything at all without structure or direction. What matters is to mature a true synodal mentality; to truly understand that "the Church is constitutively synodal", that is, the People of God that walks together; not only because it walks, but because it walks knowing where it is going - towards the fulfillment of the Kingdom - and therefore it questions itself about the road to travel, listening to what the Spirit is telling the Church. I am convinced that the first and most fundamental fruit of this first stage of the synodal process is the conviction, matured in reciprocal listening, that the life of the Church begins with listening, a consequence of rediscovering the pneumatological dimension of the Church that the Council has given back to us and that commits us pastors in particular to the inalienable task of discernment".
At this time when the Church is celebrating the first phase of the process dedicated to listening, the Secretary General of the Synod recalled, "Consultation of the People of God is an action that falls to the Bishop as the principle and foundation of unity in his Church. By virtue of his proper, ordinary and immediate power over the flock entrusted to him, it is up to him to open the synodal journey in his Church and to accompany it, so that it may bear the hoped-for fruit."
Finally, Card. Grech closed his speech with a specific request to the CEI: "I therefore ask this Episcopal Conference for another commitment: to be an example in the discernment phase. Help everyone to understand that this is not a job entrusted to someone else, but examine the material yourselves. Find a truly collegial way to "discern" the contributions of the dioceses. May the synthesis you offer to the Secretariat truly be the fruit of listening to the Churches in Italy. This act of discernment will help us to understand - I am convinced - the collegial nature of the Bishops' Conferences, in the framework of a Church that is constitutively synodal. This is a theme that deserves careful study, so that the synodal process can guarantee a true exercise of synodality, collegiality and primacy. To supress any one of these aspects is to weaken the entire synodal process".
At the end of the speech by the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, a broad, sincere and fruitful session of dialogue with the bishops of the CEI followed.
Cardinal Grech's intervention is available only in Italian.