Bishops, listen to us!

Bishops, listen to us!

Youth Pre-Synod press conference: Laphidil Twumasi, Cardinal Baldisseri, secretary general of the Synod of Bishops, and Percival Holt (v.l.) © Stefano dal Pozzolo/Romano Siciliani (CBA)

Before bishops discuss youth in the fall, the pope wants to know what young people think and experience. 300 of them he now invited to Rome. Their vote despite all the differences: the future concerns us above all.

"The fact that the Pope is calling on young people to take risks because otherwise they will age quickly impressed me," says Sandro Bucher. Yet the 25-year-old from Winterthur, Switzerland, could care less what a pope says. Bucher is an atheist, a member of various freethinker and humanist associations. Now he has gone to Rome for a week – to a meeting center of the Legionaries of Christ in the midst of about 300 mostly very committed Catholics. Mediated through personal contacts with the World Youth Day Committee of the Swiss Bishops' Conference, Bucher was invited to represent the group of non-believers at the Vatican's Pre-Synod for Youth.

Church does not want to exclude anyone

He does not feel like a "token atheist". Neither he nor a Muslim woman from Lebanon, who had also been invited, felt ashamed to speak their minds. "The young Catholics here are very open to people who think differently," Bucher says. Basically, they often ended up with the same philosophical and existential questions. Talking to young people from poor countries, many of whom also reported persecution, was particularly formative, he said. Eva Wimmer (20), an educator and theology student from Graz, had a similar experience during the days in Rome.

She, too, was taken with the way Pope Francis invited participants in Monday's presynod to speak: frankly and openly. Young people are too often excluded from participation in society and left alone. The church wants to hear all young people, no one excluded, he says. And so, during the Youth Pre-Synod in Rome, about 300 young people spoke, argued and communicated in four languages and 20 working groups about their life worlds, their relationship to faith and church and the difficulty of making decisions.

Thematic focal points

The topics were unemployment and human trafficking, democracy in the church and persecution of Christians, Catholic sexual morality – on which there are different opinions – and corrupt state power. The ambivalence of the digital revolution, the ie of women in the church and the question of a liturgy that really speaks to young people also came up.

The thematic areas of youth, faith and life choices, each with five guiding questions, were given by the organizers of the preliminary meeting and the Synod of Bishops scheduled for October. In addition to the delegates in Rome, 15 also expressed their views on the matter.000 registered Internet users worldwide via special Facebook pages. When this forum closed at noon Wednesday, more than 40 were.000 comments received. They were spotted and summarized by a social media team in Rome, which included Briana Santiago from Austin, USA.

Becoming active yourself

What Santiago finds particularly striking in her subject area: Across all cultures, young people are looking for guidance and orientation for their decisions. And: everyone wants to contribute constructively to move the church and society forward locally. "We don't just want to be heard, we want to get involved," says Thomas Andonie, chairman of the Federation of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ), summarizing voices from his working group. So everything in butter, all satisfied?

Of course not. That would also not be in the sense of the pope. Skepticism and uneasiness remain, for example, in the question of how exactly the voices of young people, their concrete experiences, will flow into the episcopal deliberations in October. Because the final document reflects the voices of the boys rather generally, even if partly with clear announcements: We lack genuine role models and participation of women in the church. No fear of diversity! Work out errors. Church, come out to us on the streets, in bars and sports facilities.

Young people as listeners at the synod

Selected young people will be invited as listeners to the actual synod, which will be held under the motto "Youth, faith and vocational discernment," but will not have voting rights. The demand to send as many young people to the synod as bishops will not be implemented in terms of church law. But if as many participants as possible from the pre-synod could talk again in the fall with those attending the actual synod, a lot would already be gained, say youth representatives. Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, whose secretariat is organizing the Synod of Bishops, promised the young participants that he would "do his best" to ensure that the church is transparent, welcoming and authentic.

Roland Juchem

Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Christina Cherry
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: