Filipino bishops admit flaws

Vow to continue the “synodal” journey with vigor

Jul 15, 2022

The Catholic Bishops of the Philippines gather for their biannual meeting in Tagaytay City July 9-11. (Photo by Roy Lagarde)


By Ronald O. Reyes

Catholic bishops in the Philippines have acknowledged flaws in their evangelistic work, saying the country’s Church is still “far from our dream of a Church of the poor.”

“We have seen gaps and closed doors in our evangelistic work. We have seen shadows,” reads a statement issued by Church leaders, following the national synodal consultation held in the city of Tagaytay last week.

In 2021, Pope Francis officially opened a two-year process called “a synod on synodality,” officially known as Synod 2021-2023: For a Synodal Church.

The process involves the expansion of an established institution, called the “Synod of Bishops”, with church leaders from around the world consulting with everyone before meeting for discussion in 2023.

“With hope and faith in the mercy of the Lord, we engage in synodality – to watch, listen and love as our way of proceeding, so that we may become a humble, welcoming and inclusive Church in the Philippines,” the Filipino Bishops read . ‘ statement titled ‘How good and pleasant when God’s people live together in unity!’ of Psalm 133:1.

The bishops admitted they “do not have all the answers to the many questions of our time” even as they acknowledge “the goodness and gifts of our people and of those who do not share our faith.”

They vowed to “open doors so that we can all go out and go on a mission” and “to seek out those who are far away, different, excluded”.

In what they described as a “synodal journey,” the bishops said they would work “to meet, listen and dialogue with our brothers and sisters of different denominations and faiths” and “explore possibilities for positive engagement. in the fields of ecumenism, religious dialogue, politics and social networks.

They then called for unity, especially with those on the peripheries, as they embarked on a “new mission”.

“We constantly hear Pope Francis calling for a Church whose members strive to live in unity and harmony (communion), to participate (participation) in the life of the Church, and never tire of seek out the least, the lost, and the last (mission),” Church leaders said.

“This is a call for a synodal Church – a Church that walks together,” reads the statement signed by Bishop Pablo Virgilio David of Kalookan, president of the conference.

The Church leaders’ statement says they have responded to the call for a “synodal Church” beginning in dioceses, prelatures and apostolic vicariates by “listening to each other, from different sectors to at the barangay level, especially those on the peripheries and those excluded from our church communities.

During consultations across the country, the bishops said they “heard strong voices calling on us, our clergy, our consecrated persons and our lay collaborators, to respond to the call to conversion, to come out of our areas of comfort, to be welcoming, to be transparent and responsible. , to be more compassionate.

The declaration says that this means “opening wide the doors of encounter, of listening and of dialogue; the door to the renewal of ourselves and of the clergy; the door to a greater testimony of simplicity and humility; the gates of stewardship, good governance and care of creation; doors to strengthening faith formation and empowerment of the laity, and building up our communities; the door to renewing our structures and ministries, – leaving behind those who do not help and embracing those who make us a community; doors that lead to building bridges, closing gaps and promoting equality. LiCAS news

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