A Synod of “many differences” but without “fights”. This is how Cardinal Cristóbal López, archbishop of Rabat, defined the meetings that have taken place during the celebration of the Synod of Synodality. “There are differences, but what unites us is much more than what separates us.” What there do seem to be are recurring issues that come to light every day in the media: how to make a Church less self-referential, the role of women in it, and blessings for homosexual couples.
In this sense, Cardinal Leonardo Ulrich Steiner has recounted his experience in the Amazon, where “there has always been representation of lay men and women because we consider that it is important to listen before carrying out our mission.” “The Synod is a process,” the cardinal stated. “We are not looking for solutions, but a path. It is clear that we each have to look for solutions in our respective realities, but it is interesting to see how everyone is participating in the process”, always considering “the mission of the Church: the announcement of the Kingdom of God.”
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Likewise, Pablo Virgilio David, president of the Episcopal Conference of the Philippines, has stressed that one of the main concerns is to “work to transform parishes into missions so that the laity realize that they have a co-responsibility so that they can participate in the mission.”
“After all the criticism that the Synod has received,” said Zbigņevs Stankevičs, archbishop of Riga (Latvia), “I was convinced that this invitation was a breath of the Holy Spirit.” Likewise, he stressed that the fundamental task of this first phase of the Synod “is to listen to everyone, not only Catholics, but all Christians, representatives of other religions, and also those who live on the margins.” And, also, understand “how we can make the kingdom of God real in a world that has changed a lot in recent years.” “The key to all this is in the task that the Second Vatican Council left us: how to awaken the giant, how to fulfill the task of being co-responsible for the evangelizing work of the Church. And this is an enormous challenge that arises from the formation of bishops and priests.”
“On the other hand,” Stankevičs continued, in these sessions “we have talked a lot about women and their role.” “Aware that women are called to motherhood, not only physically but spiritually,” he noted, “women should not compete but complement themselves with men.” For this reason, the Bishop of Riga has been in favor of giving women “a greater place without touching what the gospel and the tradition of the Church say.”
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Furthermore, Stankevičs has pointed out, regarding homosexual unions, that “the homosexual tendency as such is not a sin, but it must be considered a sin if people enter into sexual relations with each other.” Something that, as he has stressed, “does not apply only to homosexuals: for everyone, sexual relations outside of marriage are a sin. We are all called to chastity; the Catechism of the Catholic Church is very clear.” Therefore, “if a homosexual comes as an individual, saying that he would like to live in the grace of God, I do not see any contraindication in praying for him and helping him with a blessing. If two homosexual people arrive who say they want to live in chastity, you can pray for them and even bless them to help them live in chastity.” Pablo Virgilio David also expressed his vision on the subject this Wednesday, denouncing “the tendency to judge homosexual people.” “In the Philippines,” he said, “there is the same word for man and woman, we are all children of God. “We must abandon the tendency to discriminate against people because of their sexual orientation.”