Synod, those “temptations” ” “that interrogate us all…

The Pope's words that closed the Extraordinary Assembly apply to all faithful. Not only to bishops

The Extraordinary Bishops’ Synod on the family was a significant moment of the “Outgoing Church” evoked by Pope Francis since the first days of his pontificate. An “outgoing Church” that is not afraid of being “damaged” in the encounter with the world, and which, on the wake of the Ecumenical Council Vatican II, practices the “scrutiny of the signs of the times”, and does not fear discernment nor the embrace with the injured. All those injured by life, even those that until yesterday she might have neglected, but never hated. That’s why there is scarce significance to the “political” interpretations of the debates in the Synod halls, as well as to judgements on the outcomes of an ecclesial event destined to remain a milestone in the century-long history of that special mundane community of men and women gathered around their God of salvation and mercy that is the Church founded by Jesus Christ, by will of the Father, pervaded by the breath of the Holy Spirit. Only through these lenses may we undertake a reflection on the Extraordinary Synod, in the awareness that a new phase begins today, a “journey”, as it was described by Pope Francis, that will bring us to the ordinary Synod of October 2015 from which will emerge, in its full regenerating force, the thrust of the Church towards the family and marriage, caring for what is good wherever it may be manifested in the life of men and women today. We are reasonably sure of this, just like we know that the “Relatio Synodi” is entrusted as a “Lineamenta” to the care of national bishops’ Conferences, so that in every corner of the world may be realized that very communitarian discernment that the Pope considers indispensable. Moreover, what deserves special emphasis in this present moment is that the words pronounced by the Pope in the closing session of the Synod apply to everyone. It applies to all believers, not only to all bishops and shepherds. We shall hereby refer only to the titles, thereby inviting to refer to the full text of the Pope’s address, regarding the “temptations” that also lay Christians should guard themselves from in this year of preparation for the ordinary Synod. They are: a temptation to hostile inflexibility, the temptation to a destructive tendency to goodness, the temptation to transform stones into bread and also to transform the bread into a stone, the temptation to come down off the Cross, the temptation to neglect the “depositum fidei”, or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality. These are the Pope’s words that we shall not comment on but rather acquire as a spiritual instrument, to live the journey that lies ahead of us with a pure soul and intellectual honesty. We wish to remind those distracted that this journey has always led us to meet wounded humanity, which today also bears the face of remarried divorcees, of those only civilly married, of domestic partners, of homosexuals. But it also bears the face of many of our families of believers going through difficulties and crisis. To erase them for an existential myopia would be a true sin of omission. Indeed, the “temptations” highlighted by the Pope prompt a preliminary reflection. As it happens in all families, and the Church is still a family, someone is tasked with showing the itinerary and the risks that may emerge on a naturally rough road. In this case, we are referring to specific spiritual risks, not to accidents or cultural hardships, which are to be expected as well. So the Pope has alerted us. And now we know how to travel throughout this year of discernment, in full conscience that we are not betraying our God and nor the men and women of our times with whom we are called to share everything: even the love that is given us by Jesus Christ day after day. To keep it tightly only to ourselves would be the last, unforgivable temptation.

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