The Church met with the Pope in Rome to discuss the future, during four intense days of work. On Saturday, August 27th, before the Consecration, the ceremony of the official nomination of 20 new cardinals from all over the world took place. Subsequently, on the 29th and 30th, about 200 cardinals were gathered at closed doors to discuss the aspects of the. "Praedicate Evangelium", the Apostolic Constitution in force since last June.
Since the entire Cardinal's College is composed of 227 people, on this occasion a large majority took part, very representative of the ecclesial community.
The opening omelet
In his opening omelet, Pope Francis spoke to those present of the fire that Jesus has come to "spread on earth", the fire that the Holy Spirit also lights in the hearts, hands and feet of those who follow him. A fire that can be powerful or strong, in which a particular style of God is manifested, when it communicates with kindness, with faithfulness, with closeness and kindness.
"The double way of describing the fire reminds us" - said Francesco - "that the man of apostolic zeal is animated by the fire of the Spirit to face with courage both the great and the small things".
With these introductory words, the Pope has in some way encouraged the participants of the Consistory to face with a courageous spirit the issues under discussion.
In che consiste la sinodalità
Two have emerged as the most pressing issues at the central meeting: understanding what synodality is and clarifying the circumstances in which lay people can guide a synod. On the first question, some eminences have noted that synodality is a serious argument, suggesting, above all, that "the synod is made by the faithful".
Other priests have expressed various perplessities on the improper use of the term "synodality", which nowadays would be used to indicate everything, even things that would have more to do with communion than with synodality as it has always been intended.
The role of the laity
The other issue addressed concerned the laity. It is noticeable that the new constitution calls for a greater participation of the laity in the structures of the vertex, but without going into the question in depth. In more than one working group, it has been proposed to enumerate the factors that can be submitted by a lay person, without leaving everything in a general uncertainty.
On the basis of the first day of the Consistory, some cardinals advanced the idea of defining the source of jurisdiction at the doctrinal level: is it the sacrament of Orders or the supreme power of the Pope? These are not just accidental disquisitions, therefore in the near future clarifications will be necessary.
In the discussions it is perceived that attention is emerging to make the role of the Christian community "more missionary" and to open the door to a greater presence of lay people and women, also through more frequent meetings and discussions.
Second day of the meeting
The second day of meetings confirmed the centrality of the topic of the laity, evidently considered an important theme in the evolution of the Church. Taking as reference the "Praedicate Evangelium", the cardinals present discussed in linguistic groups, where proposals were put forward, in order to meet in plenary sessions.
The most heartfelt theme has been that of the laity, referring to what is stated in the "Praedicate Evangelium", namely that "every Christian, by virtue of the Blessed Sacrament, is a disciple-missionary in the measure in which he or she has found the love of God in Christ Jesus". This, therefore, must foresee the participation of the laity, also in functions of governance and responsibility.
Successively, the idea that "there are dicasteries in which it is convenient to have at the helm of lay responsibilities" has been reiterated. The affirmation of the laity and of their role for some is linked to the development of the missionary spirit, believing that "sooner or later we will arrive at a different consciousness, where everything is missionary, including the offices of the Curia, which can seem paradoxical" (Card. Paolo Lojudice).
The Cardinal Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, concluded his participation by speaking of an "extraordinarily edifying" meeting.
"Abbiamo parlato da amici, da fratelli, con immensa carità e profondo amore per la Chiesa, di questioni molto concrete", ha detto il cardinale. "Sono contento che sia successo. I was waiting for it with impatience".
Pope Francis concluded the meeting with a Holy Mass. In his homily he seemed to refer to some of the questions mentioned here for the future of the Church. "Se, insieme ai discepoli, rispondiamo alla chiamata del Signore e andiamo in Galilee, sul monte da Lui indicato, sperimentiamo un nuovo stupore. This time, what delights us is not the project of salvation itself, but the fact - even more surprising - that God involves us in his project: it is the reality of the mission of the apostles with Christ risen... The words of the Risorto still have the power to move our hearts two thousand years later. The unfathomable divine decision to evangelize the world starting from that rare group of disciples, who - as the evangelist notes - still hesitated, never seems to stupify us. But, as we can see, the stupor that traverses us is no different if we keep us, who are gathered here today, to whom the Lord has repeated the same words, the same mission".