In the Vineyard: October 16, 2023


In the Vineyard :: October 16, 2023 :: Volume 23, Issue 18

National News

Enlarge the Space of Your Tent

With an immense gratitude, the planning team of Enlarge the Space of Your Tent: A Boston Synodal Gathering share with you the synthesis of our discernment together. This document will be shared with his Eminence Cardinal Sèan O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston. You are very welcome to share the synthesis with your own local parishes, religious communities, prayer groups, etc., in service to the Synod on Synodality, which commenced in Rome on Wednesday, October 4. As Pope Francis has exhorted us, “Without prayer there will be no Synod.” Please continue to hold these and all the spiritual conversations of the Synod in your personal prayers. Click here to view, download, and print the Synthesis, and please continue to hold these and all the spiritual conversations of the Synod in your personal prayers.

Come Imagine!

Imagine your presence at the October 2023 Synod meeting in Rome. What do YOU sense the Spirit asks of us as a Church in the present world? We invite you to put into practice what the Synod asks us all to do: “We listen to each other in order to better hear the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking in our world today.” – Vademecum, Synod on Synodality

The Association of U.S. Catholic Priests, VOTF and others are responding to the Spirit. Let’s be sure we always have a true mix of clergy and laity together, hearing each other, when we engage in conversation. AUSCP Conversations on the Church in the Modern World & Synodality try to do just that. Check regularly for scheduling. Need more information about AUSCP Conversations, just click here.

Your Voices Matter

We mailed you our Fall 2023 Voice Matters newsletter in September. We send Voice Matters to you twice a year, spring and fall, to help keep you up-to-date with Voice of the Faithful’s activities. We also took the opportunity in the newsletter, and are taking it here, to remind you that we’re here only through your continued generous support. If you received the newsletter by mail, and used the form accompanying it to send a donation, thank you. If not, please consider donating online by clicking here, and, if you’d like to read the fall 2023 Voice Matters, click here.

You can find the entire list of participants on the Vatican website by clicking here. To read more about how the Synod Assembly process will work and what will be live streamed, click here.

Voice of the Faithful Focus News Roundup

Top Stories

Opening momentous Vatican summit, Pope Francis begs church to ‘not impose burdens’
Pope Francis on Oct. 4 officially opened a long-anticipated Vatican summit on the very future of Catholicism, encouraging its participants — bishops and lay people alike — to reject the temptations of doctrinal rigidity and to embrace a vision of the church that is open and welcoming to all. ‘The blessing and welcoming gaze of Jesus prevents us from falling into some dangerous temptations: of being a rigid church, which arms itself against the world and looks backward; of being a lukewarm church, which surrenders to the fashions of the world; of being a tired church, turned in on itself,” Francis said in a homily in St. Peter’s Square that marked the start of the monthlong Synod of Bishops’ synod on synodality.” By Christopher White and Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Pope’s own abuse commission blasts system that leaves victims ‘wounded and in the dark’
“In a bold new statement, the Vatican’s Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, an advisory body created by Pope Francis in 2014, has condemned what they described as a failure on the part of church authorities in abuse prevention, saying they will push leaders to do more. ‘Every day seems to bring forth new evidence of abuse, as well as cover up and mishandling by Church leadership around the world,’ a Sept. 27 statement from the commission said, issued ahead of a Sept. 30 consistory for the creation of new cardinals and a Synod of Bishops beginning Oct. 4.” By Elise Ann Allen

Sex abuse allegations against a deceased cardinal add to the German church’s troubles
“A scandal centering on sexual abuse allegations against a long-deceased cardinal has created a ‘very difficult situation’ for the troubled Catholic Church in Germany, a top German bishop said Monday (Sept. 25), hours after a statue of the late cleric was removed from its perch outside Essen Cathedral. The accusations against Cardinal Franz Hengsbach, who died in 1991, added to a long-running scandal over abuse by clergy that has shaken the German church.” By Geir Moulson, Associated Press

Papal commission incorporates global feedback in safeguarding guidelines
“Four months after soliciting public input on the development of safeguarding guidelines, the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors said it had reviewed 300 responses and 700 suggestions that ‘largely confirmed the approach adopted’ for establishing rules and procedures to handle abuse in the Catholic Church. The commission, which held its plenary assembly in Rome Sept. 20-22, began working on the second phase of its ‘Universal Guideline Framework’ which will ‘provide clear criteria for local churches on how safeguarding policies and procedures can become effective,’ it said in a statement released Sept. 23.” By Justin McLellan, Catholic News Service, in Our Sunday Visitor

Victims march to Rome to demand ‘zero tolerance’ on church abuse
“A group of Catholic Church abuse victims and their advocates on Wednesday (Sept. 27) called on Pope Francis to enforce ‘zero tolerance’ against clerical sex abuse, after completing a six-day pilgrimage to Rome carrying a large wooden cross. The 10 men and women walked 130 kilometres (81 miles) along the last stretch of the Via Francigena, a medieval trail that connects Canterbury, England, to Rome, ahead of a major Vatican summit on the future of the Church, starting next week.” By Reuters

Pope asks new cardinals to join Church ‘symphony’
“Coming from different parts of the world and having different experiences and talents, members of the College of Cardinals are called to create a ‘symphony,’ listening to one another and to the Holy Spirit, Pope Francis said. Creating 21 new cardinals from 16 nations Sept. 30, the pope used the biblical story of Pentecost to remind the prelates of the roots of their faith, and he invoked the image of a symphony to emphasize their call to be both faithful and creative.” By Cindy Wooden, Catholic News Service, in Our Sunday Visitor

Click here to read the rest of this issue of Focus …

Guide from Commonweal on the Synod

Commonweal Magazine has put together a free discussion guide to use your classroom, parish, or reading group.

As the the Synod on Synodality begins, use the guide to start a conversation about the history of Catholic synods in your community. In his essay “Synodality & Catholic Amnesia,” Shaun Blanchard looks at the centuries-old roots of the tensions, confusions, and ambiguities that plague Catholic discourse on synodality. For Blanchard, the Church cannot learn from past failures unless we grapple with the complexity and messiness of Church history, including synodality and the conciliarist tradition.

You can access a PDF version of the discussion guide here.

Women in the Diaconate

There has been much discussion on the Synod’s consideration of women in the Diaconate. And whether or not anything will actually change. VOTF’s friend Phyllis Zagano  provides solid grounding for discerning women’s vocational call to the diaconate in her article in the Tablet, Synodal discernment and women in the diaconate.

Pope Francis Prays for the Synod

For his October prayer intention, Pope Francis asks us to “pray for the Church, that she may adopt listening and dialogue as a style of life at every level, allowing herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit towards the world’s peripheries.”

He continues, “Mission is at the heart of the Church. And even more when a Church is in Synod. This synodal dynamic alone carries its missionary vocation forward – that is, her response to Jesus’ mandate to proclaim the Gospel. I would like to recall that nothing ends here. Rather, we are continuing an ecclesial journey here.

This is a journey we will travel, like the disciples of Emmaus, listening to the Lord who always comes to meet us. He is the Lord of surprises.

Through prayer and discernment, the Holy Spirit helps us carry out the “apostolate of the ear,” that is, listening with God’s ears in order to speak with the word of God.
And thus, we draw near to the heart of Christ. Our mission and the voice that draws us to him spring from him.

This voice reveals to us that the heart of mission is to reach out to everyone, to seek everyone, to welcome everyone, to involve everyone, without excluding anyone.

Let us pray for the Church, that she may adopt listening and dialogue as a style of life at every level, allowing herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit towards the world’s peripheries.”

To watch the Pope’s video, click here.


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