Summary of Synod proceedings in the dioceses

Archdiocese of Poznan

Diocesan synthesis

Synteza-synodalna-Archidiecezja-Poznanska

[Source:

https://synodpoznan.pl/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/Synteza-synodalna-Archidiecezja-Poznanska.pdf]

“The Church too official, the liturgy too over-egged” – a summary of the synod in the archdiocese of Poznan

“The Church too officious, the liturgy too overbearing, the need for greater transparency and consideration of the voice of the laity in the election of bishops,” are some of the post-synodal proposals in the Archdiocese of Poznan. Rev. Miroslaw Tykfer, who is responsible for the synod’s work in the archdiocese, sums up the more than six months of consultations, which were attended by more than 8,500 people. individuals.

June is the time to take stock of the diocesan phase of the Synod on Synodality announced by Pope Francis in 2021. The dioceses are currently collecting the results of the consultation and preparing a synthesis. Rev. Miroslaw Tykfer, responsible for the work of the synod in the archdiocese of Poznan, shares his insights.

What was the interest in the synod?

“At the beginning there was a lot of doubt about the synod, priests were very skeptical. Taking all this into account, I believe that the synod as far as attendance is concerned was successful,” says Fr. Tykfer. In the Archdiocese of Poznan, feedback was collected from approx. 8,500. people, among them were approx. 2 thousand. The voices of children and young people. Rev. Tykfer points out that this can be considered a representative group, although primarily opinions were collected from those involved in the life of the Church and feeling a responsibility for the Church, but there were also opinions from those on the periphery or even outside the Church.

Church too official

Rev. Tykfer notes that the Vademecum prepared by the Vatican, which includes topics and questions, was very helpful for participants in the synodal consultations. But participants in the consultations stressed that the most important thing in the synodal process was relationships – how we listen to each other, whether or not we understand each other, and relationships with clergy, priests, including bishops. “From the opinions of the synod participants, it seems that relationships are not working out for us, that for various reasons the Church is too official,” concludes Fr. Tykfer.

Rev. Miroslaw Tykfer, photo. Justyna Nowicka

The need for transparency and the issue of lay influence on the election of a bishop

“A very important topic was the issue of transparency – in all dimensions. From the way of pastoral design, the mission of lay participation, etc., to the formation of pastoral and economic councils, financial matters. In general, transparency was a theme that recurred a lot,” Fr. Miroslaw Tykfer. “If one were to cite a specific idea in detail, there were calls for parish councils to be elected in a transparent, democratic way, so that lay people would have a say in the election of the bishop, even if that voice was not very dominant.” The clergyman noted that there is a need among the laity for greater involvement in the life of the parish, but that taking shared responsibility must be parallel to giving competence.

Church a promoter of dialogue in the social sphere

Another issue frequently raised was the state-church relationship and social dialogue. Rev. Tykfer: “The dominant outlook was that the Church should be a promoter of dialogue, that internally it should be more dialogical about the various so-called ‘church options’ that are strengthening and becoming more extreme.” Such a situation is perceived as inferior – very many people said it made them worse. It also called for the Church outside to be a promoter of social dialogue. The demands included a desire for Christianity to set an example of resolving difficult issues through dialogue, not confrontation.”

Presynodal meeting, photo. Justyna Nowicka

Instead of teaching dogma – answers to existential questions

There was a call among respondents to expand catechesis, which could be read as a cry for adult catechesis. It was postulated that the style of catechesis should be changed from speaking ex cathedra to a dialogical form, solving problems, starting with asking people, discerning their needs. And that catechesis should apply to everyone. “Very interesting,” says Fr. Tykfer – that in the process of healing the Church, its wounds, it is important to have catechesis that involves answering important existential questions, and not just teaching at the level of dogma or truths of faith.”

Liturgy too over-played

Rev. Miroslaw Tykfer: “The theme of celebration turned out to be a very interesting topic. In general, that was the conclusion that with the Mass, however, we have a problem. It is usually perceived as “one-actor theater,” especially in smaller communities. The laity asked why the liturgy is so over-played, why at the beginning of Mass the faithful are sometimes greeted, thanked, why there are such long announcements.” During the consultation, it was raised that during the liturgy “there is not enough silence, adoration, contemplation, such a dimension of the liturgy that it is more of an encounter with God and not just with each other.” This suggestion of the laity was taken up by Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki during a homily delivered in June this year. Under the Rafter, saying that the liturgy sometimes praises man more than God.

Presynodal meeting, photo. Justyna Nowicka

What did the synod give the clergy?

When asked what the synod gave the clergy, Fr. Tykfer responds: “The Synod inspires me a lot for my pastoral work. If someone asks himself in what direction to shape pastoral care, I already know that you have to start with people, their needs, with listening and building relationships, and only then design what we want to achieve in the context of evangelization or catechization. The two processes must go together. I say this as a parish priest, as a man who has participated in synodal groups in my parish. I saw what tremendous power there is in listening to each other and hearing people’s needs. It is not adapting the Gospel to the needs of the people, but following the style of Jesus. He started with a meeting and conversation, led to some experience of liberation, and only then did the context for repairing life emerge. The Synod continues to inspire me,” concludes Fr. Miroslaw Tykfer.

[Source:

https://misyjne.pl/kosciol-zbyt-urzedowy-liturgia-zbyt-przegadana-podsumowanie-synodu-w-archidiecezji-poznanskiej/

]

Synod in numbers

A total of 6390 participants have taken part in the Synod so far, including 4100 in synodal groups in parishes, 510 people in movements and communities.,125 people took part in synodal consultations within the framework of community groups, 990 children, 852 youth representatives and 13 people within the framework of an ecumenical group also participated in the work.

Later, the preliminary results of the diocesan synthesis were presented. This was done in a two-voice format, where first the glares relating to the current situation of the Church were presented, followed by the shadows.

Walking together

On the one hand, Synod participants speak of their deep conviction that through the Gospel and the Church’s teaching they have access to the source of truth and wisdom of life. Believers and practitioners want to consciously live according to the principles of the Gospel, but they want to go along with those who are less committed and those who are not affiliated with the Church.

On the other hand, on the other hand, also believers and practitioners indicate that they increasingly have difficulty identifying with the Catholic Church as a community. They motivate this by scorning the sins of the clergy, especially their inappropriate response to the abuse of superiors.

Many people have written that the church is not associated with a place to build relationships. It has become more of a place for service delivery and much less of a space for community building.

Listening to

It was emphasized that there are many forms and spaces of mutual listening in the Church. The Church also has the capacity to create such forums. Synod participants, for the most part, stress that the current Synod allows the laity to be heard in the Church. This is often the first such experience in their lives.

Although, at the same time, it was pointed out that there is a lack of listening to the laity in the Church. We are used to listening to a priest or bishop speaking in the Church. The laity, on the other hand, are less and less inclined to listen uncritically to the clergy. This is because the authority of the clergy has significantly weakened.

According to a great many Synod participants, a significant number of priests and bishops are overlooking the Holy See’s recommendations. There are too many of our own interpretations of what the Holy See says. It’s a voice that resonates with most Synod participants, but most strongly in church movements and communities. Quite often, Synod participants emphasize that women are not listened to in the Church, and that their role is more of a subservient one. The Church does not relate to women with empathy, does not listen to them, treats them frivolously. Interestingly, such observations about the place of women in the Church were also shared by children in the synodal consultation.

Taking the floor

It is undoubtedly a good sign that the Church is clearly opening up to new technologies and modern ways of communication to reach all people. Synod participants also recognized that meetings of pastoral groups are an excellent opportunity to speak up, speak out and make their point.

However, according to Synod participants, a difficult relationship or lack thereof prevails between the faithful and priests, making it difficult to speak up. Almost all Synod participants say there is a lack of a permanent platform for speaking out in the Church. In their view, bishops too often fail to speak out on important issues or delay clarifying important issues. Moreover, the bishops do not speak with one voice on important issues. Statements by some bishops are extreme and even aggressive.

Some people noted that some priests, on the other hand, behave as if they are ashamed of official Church teaching.

It is also worth noting that for a very large group of Synod participants, listening to people who are outside the Church is very important.

Celebrating

The presence of Christ in the Eucharist is seen as the most essential reality of the celebration. Liturgy is a very important part of the life of Christians. Synod participants strongly emphasize its value and the need to improve its quality in all dimensions. They also often express the need to rediscover a place for silence in the liturgy.

However, many times the liturgy praises human beings more than God, for example, through long greetings, acknowledgments or comments. Moreover, it is still the case in many parishes that the liturgy is “one-actor theater,” and lay involvement is lacking.

The Synod is thus a call for a liturgy that is beautiful and profound.

Photo. Justyna Nowicka

Co-responsible in the mission of the Church

It was noted that the Church maintains its local continuity through parishioners: priests change, parishioners stay. These are people who help successive priests learn about customs in a parish that are important to parishioners in some way. In every parish there are people who feel a sense of shared responsibility for their church, no matter how many there are.

On the other hand, an internal obstacle to the mission is the lack of a sense of community and shared responsibility, although there are people who are opposed to any change. The external obstacle, on the other hand, is primarily prejudice against the Church and the creation of a negative image in the media, which – at least sometimes – use hurtful generalizations.

Very many people express disappointment, even bitterness, about the political involvement of important Church figures and a kind of alignment of the hierarchical Church with political power. In their view, this harms the credibility and authority of the Church.

On the other hand, the attractiveness of the modern world, consumerism and the dilly-dallying with the comforts of life is also an obstacle to the effectiveness of the mission.

Many people also pointed out that priests are not being formed to give responsibility to the laity.

In addition, according to most Synod participants, the Church’s attitude toward minorities is inappropriate. They believe that the treatment of these people lacks love of neighbor, including love of enemies. Only a very small number of Synod participants expressed satisfaction with the Church’s stance in this area to date.

Dialogue in the Church and society

It was emphasized that what unites church people with non-believers is primarily charitable work.

Most Synod participants believe that the hierarchical Church speaks, not talks.
On the other hand, bishops are not listened to because they are seen as inauthentic. Rather, in their communications, the faithful sense a kind of insincere diplomacy.

As for the media, it has been noted that some secular media exaggerate the emphasis on the “sins of the Church,” while in turn some “Catholic” media do not take up difficult topics, hide the truth, and manipulate facts.

The Church is not using the tool of Catholic social teaching. It does not provide systematic teaching in this area and does not show directions for thinking and acting.

Ecumenism

The good thing is that there is a great deal of common ground between Christians of different faiths. Together, we are disciples of Christ who want to bear witness in a secularized world.

The shortcoming, however, remains that ecumenical meetings tend to take place at the level of the hierarchy. The dialogue has not moved to the level of the faithful. There is little awareness among the faithful of different denominations of the ecumenical activities it undertakes. It’s also not good that we’re still stuck in a sense of superiority toward each other.

Authority and participation and discernment and decision-making

Synod participants express the awareness that authority in the Church, like all of its activities, is only ancillary to the Church’s main mission of leading people to salvation. At the same time, they stress that the Synod is their first experience of having an impact on decision-making in the Church.

It was also stressed that there is a lack of financial transparency in the Church and in parishes, as well as that concerning the operation of parish councils. It is accepted that the parish belongs to the pastor, and it is he who makes all decisions.

The vast majority of Synod participants emphasize that we still have to deal with withholding information, withholding facts, not speaking directly about what is happening, not giving specifics about negligence or crimes in the Church. Often information is provided in generalities, and inconvenient issues are “swept under the rug.”

It was also noted that the Church is dominated by an anachronistic model of one-way communication. Therefore, a “feedback culture” is needed.

Formation in synodality

Almost all Synod participants say that it is worthwhile to ensure that the summary of synod meetings does not end with writing a synthesis and concluding the work. In their view, the Synod can open up the possibility of breathing life into the institution of the Church from below. Synod participants would like to transfer the synodal experience to parish operations, including in the space of pastoral and economic councils.

On the other hand, the danger from the current Synod of creating a wish concert has been noted. Looking very globally at the Church, more collegiality, tenure, application of the principle of subsidiarity and listening “from below” are expected.

Church like a meadow

A meadow was chosen as a metaphor to express our shared dreams of the Church, revealed in the synthesis, in reference to the text of St. Paul. St. Therese of Lisieux.

The church is similar to a meadow, where a great variety of plants grow, there are also insects, life is going on both on the ground and underground. This diversity creates a beauty that man could not compose such unity out of such great variety. God also sustains the meadow in its existence and flourishing, and thus sustains unity in diversity in the Church.

“By lowering Himself so far, the good God shows His infinite greatness. As the sun simultaneously illuminates the cedars and each little flower, as if this one were the only one on earth, so Our Lord cares for each soul individually, as if it had no similar ones, and as in nature the succession of seasons makes it possible for the tiniest daisy to bloom on the marked day, similarly everything is in accordance with the good of each soul.”

(History of the Soul, Krakow 1988, p. 34).

This reflection was illustrated with a recomposition of Vivaldi’s “Spring” by Max Richter, titled “The Spring”. “Spring 1.

A second motif that helped make this reflection clear was a graphic by Japanese artist Azuma Makoto Kaju Kenkyusho

Continuing on the road together

The meeting is then attended in small numbers of approx. 10 people in the groups were able to express their opinion on whether their voice was included in the synthesis. They were also able to ask about the consultation process. The answers given and written down in small groups were collected by “spokesmen of the audience,” and then Archbishop Stanislaw Gądecki spoke on the issues raised.

[Source:
https://misyjne.pl/poznan-zaprezentowano-pierwsze-wnioski-w-ramach-synodu-o-synodalnosci-galeria/
]

Summaries of the synodal process in other dioceses, parishes and the perspective of participants in synodal meetings

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