‘Module B2’ of the Synod on synodality

‘Module B2’ of the Synod on synodality

Participants in the Synod General Assembly are in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall begin examining and discussing “Module B2”, of which we offer the full text here below.

B 2. Co-responsibility in Mission: How can we better share gifts and tasks in the service of the Gospel?

51. “The pilgrim Church is missionary by her very nature” (AG 2). Mission constitutes the dynamic horizon from which we are to think about the synodal Church, to which it imparts a drive towards the “ecstasy” that consists in “coming out of ourselves and seeking the good of others, even to the sacrifice of our lives” (CV 163; cf. also FT 88). Mission allows one to receive the experience of Pentecost: having received the Holy Spirit, Peter and the Eleven stand and take the word to announce the crucified and risen Jesus to all those living in Jerusalem (cf. Acts 2:14-36). Synodal life is rooted in the same dynamism. There are many testimonies that describe the lived experience of the first stage in these terms, and even more numerous are those that link synodality and mission in an inseparable manner.

52. In a Church that defines itself as a sign and instrument of union with God and of the unity of all humanity (cf. LG 1), the discourse on mission focuses on the lucidity of the sign and the efficacy of the instrument, without which any proclamation lacks credibility. Mission is not the marketing of a religious product, but the construction of a community in which relationships are a manifestation of God’s love and therefore whose very life becomes a proclamation. In the Acts of the Apostles, Peter’s discourse is immediately followed by the account of the life of the primitive community, in which everything became an occasion for communion (cf. 2:42-47), which made the community attractive.

53. In this line, the first question regarding mission asks what the members of the Christian community are really willing to hold in common, starting from the irreducible uniqueness of each member, by virtue of their direct relationship with Christ in Baptism and as a dwelling place of the Spirit. This makes the contribution of each of the Baptized precious and indispensable. One of the reasons for the sense of wonder noted during the first phase is related to this possibility of contribution: “Can I really offer something?”. At the same time, each person is invited to acknowledge his or her own incompleteness, and therefore the awareness that in the fullness of mission everyone is needed. In this sense, mission also has a constitutively synodal dimension.

54. For this reason, the second priority identified by a Church that discovers itself as missionary and synodal concerns the manner in which it is able to solicit the contribution of all, each with their gifts and roles, valuing the diversity of charisms and integrating the relationship between hierarchical and charismatic gifts[1]. The perspective of mission places charisms and ministries within the horizon of what is common, and in this way safeguards their fruitfulness, which is compromised when they become prerogatives that legitimise forms of exclusion. A missionary synodal Church has a duty to ask itself how it can recognise and value the contribution that each Baptised person can offer in mission, going out of himself/herself and participating together with others in something greater. “[T]to make an active contribution to the common good of humanity” (CA 34) is an inalienable component of the dignity of the person, even within the Christian community. The first contribution everyone can make is towards discerning the signs of the times (cf. GS 4), in order to maintain awareness of our common mission in tune with the breath of the Spirit. All points of view have something to contribute to this discernment, starting with that of the poor and excluded: walking together with them does not only mean responding to and taking on their needs and sufferings, but also respecting their protagonism and learning from them. This is the way to recognise their equal dignity, escaping the traps of welfarism and anticipating as far as possible the logic of the new heavens and new earth towards which we are on our way.

55. The Worksheets linked to this priority try to concretise this basic question with respect to topics such as the recognition of the variety of vocations, charisms and ministries, the promotion of the baptismal dignity of women, the role of the ordained Ministry and in particular the ministry of the Bishop within the missionary synodal Church.

[1] Cf. Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Letter Iuvenescit Ecclesia, 15 May 2016, 13-18.