Three issues for the Synod’s consideration

This is an extract from an article that I wrote for UCA News.

Over 120 current and former local, national and international leaders of various movements and groups from 33 countries — many from the Global South — have endorsed a contribution to the First Assembly of the Synod on Synodality that calls for a greater focus on the promotion of the lay apostolate and on representation of lay movements and groups in Church structures.

Signatories include Australian Emeritus Bishop of Darwin, Eugene Hurley, Rienzie Rupasinghe, originally from Sri Lanka and a member of the first Pontifical Council of the Laity (PCL) in 1967, and Patricia Jones, another former member of the PCL from the United Kingdom.

The contribution, which has now been forwarded to senior Synod officials and to the Dicastery on Laity Family and Life, aims to draw Synod participants’ attention to several important issues.

The first is the need for a clear focus on the promotion of the lay apostolate of lay people as envisaged by Vatican II, particularly in Lumen Gentium Section31, Gaudium et Spes  Section 43 and more generally in Apostolicam Actuositatem.

The second issue addressed is the need for better representation of international Catholic (lay) movements and networks among participants at the Synod.

The third issue highlighted is the need for a fresh look at the provisions of the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity, Apostolicam Actuositatem  Section 26, which clearly called for more representative and participative Church structures involving grassroots lay movements and organizations at parish, diocesan, national and international level.

These too are issues that need to be addressed by the Synod on Synodality. And yet how to do so when the very movements and groups concerned are barely represented at the Synod?

Surely, lay movements, groups and communities should not have to wait another 60 years for the vision of Vatican II to finally become reality?

Stefan Gigacz


Granting the laity their share in Church’s mission (UCA News)