Help Bishops Answer Vatican Questions
The Vatican has given the bishops until mid-December to respond to the lineamenta for the proposed Synod on the Americas (NCR, Oct. 25). It appears the Vatican, through the synod, will once again pit against each other two visions of church and Latin American reality. As Gary MacEoin, who attended and reported on Vatican II and the Latin American bishops conferences at Medellin, Puebla and Santo Domingo, has written: "One [vision] flows out of the Vatican Council, Medellin and a recognition of widespread structural injustices and class conflict. The other comes out of pre-Vatican II theology, stressing the need for individual holiness and calls for greater generosity and acts of charity. The former embraces liberation theology; the latter denies it."
With this in mind, we thought it would be useful to NCR readers to know the questions the bishops of the Americas have been asked to respond to in preparation for the synod. We thought some readers might even answer these questions to assist their local bishops in coming up with their own responses. We would further appreciate it if NCR readers who responded to their bishops would send us copies of their responses. We would consider publishing some of these.
What follows is the last section of the Synod of Bishops' lineamenta as printed by the Vatican. From the episcopal responses the final document will be written for the yet to be scheduled synod. Italic emphasis is contained in the document.
Encounter with the living Christ
1. How is the person of Jesus Christ, the Savior and Evangelizer, proclaimed and presented to the men and women of the present era, so that they might have a true encounter with him in the concrete situations of life? Describe the ways in which the church can maintain the centrality of the living Jesus Christ in the various manifestations of the church's life: liturgy, systematic catechesis, formation in the faith, apostolic and charitable activities?
Conversion in church and in
2. List and describe concrete signs of the religious awakening in the local church. On the other hand, what are the most urgent aspects needing conversion within the church?
3. What elements in contemporary society in your area can be considered positive with regard to the gospel message? What elements of society call for conversion?
Communion in the church
4. In your area, what are the factors causing significant divisions in the church with regard to: bishops, priests, men and women religious, ecclesial movements, the faithful in general? How can these elements which damage communion be overcome?
5. Evaluate to what measure the teachings of the Second Vatican Council, especially in relation to ecclesial communion, have been faithfully applied in your particular church. In what ways can all the doctrinal and pastoral richness of this council be proposed in response to the Holy Father's invitation to make an "examination of conscience" which "must consider the reception given to the council, this great gift of the Spirit to the church at the end of the second millennium" (Apostolic Letter Tertio millennio adventiente, 36).
Ecumenical and interreligious
6. What is being done concretely in the particular churches or at the interdiocesan level to promote ecumenical dialogue, prayer and cooperation in acts of solidarity with our Christian brethren? How are pastoral workers prepared to develop ecumenical activities oriented toward building up the unity of the one People of God?
7. Evaluate the relations which your Christian community maintains with other non-Christian religions.
The church faced with problem of
8. Describe briefly the religious situation concerning sects, syncretistic religious movements and other spiritual currents. What are they? What type of activities are they developing? …