Summary of the Synod's progress in the dioceses

Dialogue in the Church and society

Dialogue requires persistence and patience, but it also enables mutual understanding.

How are conflicts and difficulties arising from differences in views, aspirations, expectations resolved in our Church? Is dialogue our way out of these problems? In this context, how does the cooperation of various institutions, organizations and church movements look like? Do we know how to learn forms of dialogue from non-church institutions? Is dialogue also a space for our encounter with followers of other religions and non-believers?

Wszystkie syntezy w jednym dokumencie PDF

DIALOG

The synod also revealed the tension between the Church’s vocation to create spaces for dialogue and the practice of living in such spaces. The Church should be a community in which there is always a place for everyone, living according to the spirit of the Gospel, standing up for the weak, the wronged, the discriminated and ready to come to their aid. It is a Church that is open to people who, for various reasons, are not in full communion with it, but who wish to mature in the faith. Such a “Church of dialogue is open to the intrinsic diversity of forms of living the faith, which do not “compete” with each other, but complement each other. He is open to conversations with the outside world and does not lock himself into elite groups. Accepts differences in social and political views. He is patient in social dialogue. Determined where someone’s dignity is taken away. He communicates in accessible language that relates to people’s experience. He avoids abstract justifications, hermetic concepts and pompous speeches.”

This vision clashes with our daily experience. Difficulties in engaging in dialogue relate to clergy-secular relations. Priests and laymen live in two different, separate worlds – environmental bubbles. Priests and bishops often fail to understand that in order to evangelize, they must confront the world outside the space of their own rectory (curia) and enter into dialogue with the laity/parishioners to include those who remain on the periphery of the Church. Divisions in the Church also run between priests themselves and among the laity. Examples include criticism of the synod, the teachings of Pope Francis, favoring a certain image of the Church, as represented by various bishops, or sometimes fierce disputes during pandemonium, such as over how to receive Holy Communion. Each group trenches on its own positions, considering other points of view as harmful to the Church.

Listening, speaking and dialogue require us not only to create the right space, but also the language of communication. The Church has not kept up with the changes taking place in the ways of interpersonal communication, and in this regard the clergy should also be supported by the laity. The problem is the language used in the Church. We see it as hermetic, self-centered and detached from reality. The language used to convey the content of the faith to young people in religious lessons and sermons is often characterized by anachronism, artificiality and, as a result, low communicativeness. Among many youngsters it is sometimes an object of ridicule. “The language of the pastoral letters of the bishops and episcopate is incomprehensible, there is too much instruction and theory in them, not enough sharing of the faith”; “Priests and bishops are not listening to the needs of their listeners.”

The content presented in this section is well reflected in a short statement made by a young person during the synodal consultation: “The church is like an apartment with separate rooms that do not even connect with each other by walls. Different groups are gathered in each room: young people, non-believers, priests, parishioners, the bishop. Theoretically they are together, but in fact – separately. In between is a cold corridor that no one wants to go out into, for fear of losing the warmth of their room. There are also people in the cold corridor. Since they cannot enter any room, they start to leave the apartment. What makes the apartment look like this is the lack of willingness to understand others. The apartment is in need of renovation. Restoration is about building roads that lead to Christ. It can only be carried out by people who notice the current situation.”

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/synteza-krajowa/]

1.1 Conducting dialogue in the church and society

1.1.1 What are the places and ways of dialogue within our particular Church?

– Places of dialogue are spaces organized by individual representatives within the parish, or diocese. There are specific circles that meet because of the activities they perform together, such as catechists, people forming in communities, people forming as stewards, representatives of associations working in the church, leaders, people involved in the School of New Evangelization. There are sometimes organized spaces for conversation, questions, discussion, dialogue.

– The most common places where dialogue is conducted, between clergy and laity, are the parish office, confessional, personal contact with the priest, communities, parish councils. The ways of dialogue we most often encounter vary, from a demanding attitude to a formal one (I go to settle a specific task, an issue), very rarely is the distance shortened, which is due to the lack of assimilation of the clergy community, we often encounter the attitude of the host priest (looking from the pulpit at the faithful) and less often that of the pastor (penetrating the environment and the affairs of the faithful). However, the easiest and most fruitful form of contact has become the community, because there clergy and laity alike spend more time, often get to know each other, integrate. Thanks to this greater pastoral care is felt, which is followed by building trust, bearing witness, creating the authority of a priest who lives the teachings of the Church and who is a true witness to Christ.

1.1.2 How are differences of opinion, conflicts and difficulties resolved?

– The Church is a hierarchical institution, hence the final decisions are made by the relevant superior. It is necessary to achieve the ability to listen to each other, which will overcome difficulties.

– This is not easy, but it should be done in a Christian spirit so as not to escalate conflicts. This is especially important recently, as attacks on the Church by cultural figures(theater performances, films) or people associated with the so-called “Church” have increased. Women’s strike. I think substantive discussion without hate is the right way to go on this issue.

– Differences of opinion, difficulties and even conflicts are inherent in our reality. Since there is a dialogue, when there are these differences, it is in conversation that one tries to explain them. Sometimes it helps to meet face-to-face, and sometimes it helps to meet in a larger group. Sometimes the intermediation of a third party, such as an uninvolved person or clergyman, is effective. There are also more difficult relationships in our community, and then it happens that the solution to the conflict may simply be to avoid the person. It is also increasingly common to pray for difficult relationships with others or to offer Masses for this intention.

1.1.3 How do we promote cooperation with neighboring dioceses, with and among the religious communities present in the area, with and among associations and lay movements, etc.?

– The best form of building cooperation is to undertake joint participation or create good initiatives that serve local communities most often. It is also important for everyone to be open to each other remembering that together we form a common family of believers regardless of whether or in which community, association I function on a daily basis.

1.1.4 What experiences of dialogue and joint engagement do we develop with followers of other religions and non-believers?

– We develop the experience of dialogue and common commitment through ecumenical prayer during the week for Christian unity.

– Interreligious dialogue is part of the Church’s original mission. Ecumenism must not be a concession from any truth, but a joint even deeper search for it. There is no equalization of all religions. There is apostolic succession, which speaks of unity in the Holy Cross.

– The experience of dialogue with people outside the Church in recent times has been very sad. These people have radicalized their anti-church stance, and the lack of real action by the Polish bishops in, for example, combating pedophilia and other sexual abuses only provides arguments for the opposing side. Moreover, one encounters people who have decided to leave the community of believers for this reason.

1.1.5 How does the Church dialogue with and learn from other institutions of society: the world of politics, economics, culture, civil society, the poor, etc.?

– Unfortunately, but the Church still has a lot of homework to do from this lesson. Many priests even exude wealth while holding outlandish views, even contrary to the teachings of Jesus. Priests should be an example just like Christ. Pope Francis, in my opinion, is a role model for both poverty and listening to people.

– Among other things, the Church is learning: how to reach young people (e.g., using multimedia, social networks), new ways of evangelization (e.g., creating professional and interesting TV programs, films, running publishing houses, radio stations), functioning in multimedia, modern management of e.g., projects, parishes (e.g., economic, personnel issues).

– The church ceases to be a setter of norms and views, but rather tries to fit in with current trends. This, unfortunately, is the path that has led Protestant churches, as well as the Church in some Western European countries, to the role of an institution that nobody needs.

– The Church is sometimes over-identified with Law and Justice, but this is worth avoiding.

– The relationship between the church and politics should be dominated by the grass-roots initiative of the faithful towards changing the law to a Christian one, and the cooperation of the church hierarchy with political parties and politicians should be absolutely avoided. We note with regret the official endorsement of specific politicians by priests and bishops.

– In our opinion, the Church often “penetrates” too much into the world of politics. We note that the close relationship between the Church and politics serves neither.

– The contemporary Church faces new challenges. There is a shortage of Catholic media, especially on the Internet. We have TRWAM television and Radio Maryja. They have a very important mission, especially among the elderly, the sick. They often face attacks, but for people who are lonely and excluded by illnesses, they are the only support. What is lacking, however, are online news portals that could compete with Onet, Interia, or Wirtualna Polska. This is not easy, as it requires huge funds. However, parish websites can be taken care of to integrate local communities and provide important and up-to-date news. The Church does not always appreciate the power of the media, and this is how young people obtain information and communicate with others. Without good quality media, it is impossible to integrate the community, educate and transmit values.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/archidiecezja-bialostocka/]

1.1 Key conclusions gathered during the diocesan stage of the synod

From the abundant material collected during synodal meetings at various levels of Church life in the Archdiocese of Czestochowa, as well as from the responses to the questionnaires sent out and from comments sent to social media sites and profiles, three groups of voices and requests were identified that recurred most frequently. These are: the need for the sacred; the problem of inter-personal and inter-community relations; and building a clear vision of how the Church functions in the pastoral and institutional areas. These three groups of applications will be discussed below. It should be added that in the collected synodal material there were many voices referring to specific parishes, communities, temples or individuals. These were specific problems, the discussion and solution of which concern the mentioned realities. They are not listed in the following synthesis, as they relate to individual cases and individual problems and are not general in nature.

(…)

1.1.1 The problem of interpersonal relations in the archdiocese

The second group of most frequently formulated synodal conclusions concerns relationality. Both the synodal meetings and the surveys sent revealed a great need to listen to each other, meet, respect, cooperate and deepen relationships. The problem has been noted especially at the levels of relations between priests and laymen, but also within the circle of priests themselves and among laymen, especially those active in movements, communities and associations.

1.1.1.1 Relationship between priests and laity

This topic generated the most excitement during the synod meetings. From the voices gathered, it seems that there is a great distance between the laity and the clergy, and not only in terms of attitudes and mutual relations, but also in the area of participation in community affairs and joint involvement in them. There was no shortage of voices describing the very good relationship between priests and laity. The faithful praised their pastors for their friendliness, availability and diligence. There were voices such as: “The priest in my parish is available to parishioners after every Mass. One can come to him and be listened to”; “Our parish priest is a good organizer, able to gather parishioners around him and mobilize them for concrete actions.” Also, several priests shared the experience of their good relations with the laity, declared that together with them they create the reality of the parish.

The vast majority of synod participants, however, note the lack of openness on the part of priests, especially pastors. The faithful complain that the parish priest does not know his faithful, does not build closer relationships with them, looks down on the laity “from above” and decides the most important things in the parish himself. The laity do not feel subjectively treated in their communities. They express a desire for priests to spend more time meeting and talking with them and to count their opinions. Repeatedly in the surveys, the laity stressed the need for ordinary human kindness and a smile, as they often experience harshness, harshness and great distance from the clergy. They feel that priests treat the Church as their property, where they are the ones entitled to decide everything.

Priests, on the other hand, look at the problem from their perspective. Many complain about the lack of involvement of the laity, their entitlement and urging priests to deviate from church discipline (especially in the process of preparation and admission to the holy sacraments). Clergymen often feel lonely in their parishes, stressing that only a narrow group of the faithful want to take joint responsibility for parish affairs. In contrast, the synodal material collected did not include demands for some kind of competition for power in the Church between clergy and laity. More often emphasized was the desire to preserve the existing roles that stem from the clerical and lay states.

1.1.1.2 Relationships among priests

Priestly synodal meetings were held in each decanate of the archdiocese. These meetings showed the great need for this type of meetings, where priests can raise priestly and pastoral issues in a fraternal atmosphere. The priests felt that it would be best if bishops participated in such meetings. They expect a more paternal attitude and closer contact from their bishops. Instead, they understand the enormous responsibility of their superiors and their increasingly difficult tasks in managing the archdiocese and personnel matters. They also complained about the high individualism of priests, their frequent isolation from the priestly community. It has been noted that priests in the archdiocese are increasingly affected by loneliness; there are deaneries where all priests work on single posts. There have been voices about the need to create priestly pastoral teams. The need for greater and concerted concern for sick and elderly priests was pointed out, so that they do not feel rejected left alone with their problems. Several criticisms have been leveled at the lack of a coherent, consistent and clear permanent formation. Very often, priests emphasized the positive role of monthly prayer meetings in the deaneries.

1.1.1.3 Relationships between church communities

As for relations between the laity, the opinions of the synod participants were mainly concerned with the problem of contacts between communities and their cooperation. A certain rivalry between some groups has been noted, criticizing each other’s spirituality of individual movements or groups; exclusivism and treating one’s own sensibilities as only right and best. The need to build spaces of cooperation between movements and communities at the diocesan, deanery and parish levels was emphasized. The problem of the rigid, absolute treatment of the laity’s affiliation with parishes and the lack of acceptance of their association with supra-parish communities or movements or with other parishes, such as the reception of the Holy Sacraments and parish catechesis, was also raised.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/archidiecezja-czestochowska/]

1.1 An analytical look

1.1.1 Dialogue in the Church and Society

Dialogue requires persistence and patience, but above all, willingness, knowledge and commitment on the part of the interlocutors. The growing number of divorces may indicate that at the marital and family level people are unable to communicate. You can see the breakdown of unity in the Church as well. The reasons could be many. Within the parish, there is a lack of openness to dialogue with the faithful by some parish priests and their associates. Catechists from some parishes reported a lack of meetings with the pastor. They also criticized the work of some curates who do not “exemplify” their work during their catechism classes at school, as well as neglect youth ministry in the parish. There was also no shortage of positive examples of priests’ activities, and they spoke of their commitment and dedication.

Some communities are drifting away from unity with the Church because they have become dependent on their leader, who breaks the rules of the Church. Each community, therefore, should have its own external spiritual directors, so that a spirit of service and humility is preserved in the community and not the attribution of too much power and independence.

The decline in vocations, numerous apostasies and the departure of young people from religious instruction are the result of a decline in the authority of people associated with the Church. Tensions over pedophilia among the clergy have had a major impact in recent times.

Interreligious dialogue is needed, but it requires us to be anchored in Jesus Christ, through deep knowledge of the word of God and living a sacramental life, as well as faith in God’s providence. We should know the fundamental tenets of our faith, which does not allow for compromise, and only later seek common ground with representatives of other religions.

Referendums on abortion, euthanasia should not change the Church’s position on the inviolability of life.

Dialogue about faith and the Church with non-believers or those unfavorable to the Church is difficult because of the stereotypes and misinformation about the Church perpetuated in society, publicizing only what is wrong. We are also limited in this dialogue by our lack of knowledge and courage to present factual and convincing arguments in the discussion.

The Church can dialogue with everyone, but it must always remember that it is to convert and present the Church’s position to others, and not to make certain concessions on matters of faith and morals for the sake of currying favor with the world.

The Church is to always uphold the truths it proclaims, since it is not a teaching that comes from people, which may be subject to some discussion or change, but it is a teaching that comes from God Himself.

In general, we have a large deficit in dialogue and the prevailing perception is that we lack it. Modern society is incapable of dialogue. The priest should be more open to the community, e.g., come out after Mass and talk, designate times (outside the parish office) where he would wait for people who want to talk to him to clarify their religious concerns. A “question box” should appear.

There is a lack of dialogue with young people, and they especially need to talk. Elements of dialogue appear in school, but it is often difficult, because those trying to conduct it are not well enough prepared for it on different levels, e.g. knowledge, interaction.

The elderly also have the conviction that there is no dialogue with them, and often a prayer-only meeting is not enough.

As a church, we have no idea how to reach believers and not practicing people. For this you need the personal testimony of a believer.

People who are in the Church lack explanation of the truths of the faith, introduction to the conscious experience of the liturgy, transparency in the area of finances in the Church, ways of receiving communion, etc.

Learning dialogue from modern politics is usually impossible, because there is no dialogue there. From civil society we can learn responsibility for the community. The economic world is profit-driven, not dialogue-driven, and does not see all human needs. From the world of culture we can learn respect for difference, but we cannot applaud what goes against the truths of faith and give permission to sin. It is necessary to look for a way of real and effective assistance provided to the poor and needy in order to truly heal their situation.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/diecezja-drohiczynska/]

1.1 What does the Church enjoy?

1.1.1 Conducting dialogue in the Church and society

Dialogue takes place primarily in individual parish groups and communities. It is usually related to specific topics, problems in a particular community and serves to discuss them and seek ways to solve them and take action.

In many cases, dialogue within the Church is most often carried out during pastoral visits to homes, in-person meetings, formation meetings in preparation for receiving the Holy Sacraments, and on various occasions at school. The synod meetings brought parishioners together to exchange views on the topic of the meeting. Previously, there were no such meetings although they were very much needed and expected.

1.2 Areas in need of healing and conversion in the parish and diocese

1.2.1 Conducting dialogue in the Church and society

There are very many differences of opinion among people. Some are due to generational differences, e.g., the young look at premarital chastity, living together before marriage, truth, etc., differently. Some are the fruit of differences in social and political perceptions. It is difficult to dialogue with people who treat the Church only as an institution and not as a community.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/diecezja-elcka/]

1.1 Synodal path – parish

Around the five themes identified, it is necessary to highlight some common issues “resonating” in our diocese. The selection of original statements (comments) of meeting participants – as suggested by the ISKK – is subjective, but consulted/discussed within the team of diocesan coordinators and other collaborators:

1.1.1 “Conducting Dialogue in the Church and Society.”

To the question, How do we develop dialogue experiences with non-believers?

“The parish does not dialogue with non-believers (…) As a community (SNE jk) we want to create a “Meeting” on the parish grounds, that is, a meeting place for people who, for various reasons, will not come to church. It would be a place of listening, witnessing and, above all, openness to every person.”

To the question: how are differences of opinion, conflicts and difficulties resolved?

“The problem is rooted in the lack of distinction between the attitudes of a particular clergyman and those of the Catholic Church. You can often hear that the young don’t believe in the Church, but they believe in God. This is a result of the fact that people, especially the young, often did not receive a full transmission of the faith in the family home or received an infantile transmission. Young people want to develop, they want to act, but they don’t always know how. Therefore, it is important, especially for the young, to properly motivate spiritual development and explain to them the problems that arise especially concerning church people and not to ‘sweep problems under the rug’.”

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/diecezja-gliwicka/]

1.1.1 Conducting dialogue in the Church and society

“The human person, with his inalienable rights, is naturally open to relationships. At its very root is the vocation to go beyond oneself in an encounter with others” (Fratelli tutti 111).

Speaking about dialogue, participants in synodal meetings most often focused on the way in which clergy and laity exchange views and ideas, and, although to a lesser extent, on dialogue conducted within church structures (e.g., between church hierarchs). Very often the lack of dialogue at all or its one-sidedness or lack of need for feedback from the interviewee was pointed out. The statements of some lay people resounded with regret that they were not being listened to, as well as the belief, based on observation, that they themselves were not engaging in dialogue due to discouragement from previous failed attempts.

The statements echoed the conviction that “my voice does not count in the Church.” The obstacles to dialogue were pointed out as too great a distance between the faithful and the clergy (as well as between bishops and presbyters), the closing of the clergy in their own comfort zone (often understood as ignorance of the reality of “ordinary people”), as well as distrust of the clergy towards the laity, especially those who show initiative in the parish. Conducting dialogue is also hindered by deficiencies at the level of the language itself, which is not adapted to the needs of the listeners. An obstacle to dialogue is also – observed not only in the Church community – . “taking offense at people with a different worldview” and “emotional and negative reactions to such people. In order to strengthen (enable) dialogue, participants in the synodal meetings stressed the need to “cleanse” the Church of sexual abuse of minors by some clergy and to develop transparent procedures for resolving these crimes. Sometimes there was a demand that Church representatives not get involved in politics . Many respondents pointed to the need for clergy to be more open to the daily lives of parishioners.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/archidiecezja-katowicka/]

1.1 Conducting dialogue in the Church and society

The Church should have a desire for dialogue within the Church and with the world to pursue the truth. In dialogue, the Church goes out to the world to proclaim the Gospel. In dialogue there is a need to understand the other party, to hear what he wants to say and what he means. Dialogue is a path of mutual respect. It includes both silence, listening and exchange of ideas. Dialogue should be conducted in various manifestations of life and action relating to the Church-world relationship. In dialogue with the world, the Church participates in formal ways (delegations), as well as through informal contacts. The most difficult form of dialogue is that conducted with a person wounded by the Church.

Dialogue should be conducted through interaction and exchange of experiences in the spirit of truth and unity. In dialogue with other Christian communities, common evangelization, social and cultural goals should be recognized.

Dialogue in the wider space takes place in prayer groups, in the parish office, and in family homes. In the external dialogue for conversion, there are often judgments, stereotypes, and the sins and errors of church people. External dialogue requires prudence, consideration and caution. The Church should uphold the truth and carry out its mission of evangelization. Christian communities should be open to dialogue with everyone. On the other hand, the Church should not succumb to the trends that exist in the world, but proclaim Christ’s victory over human sin. An important element in conducting intra-church dialogue is liturgy, which includes listening, silence and meditation on the Word of God, as well as proclamation to change the world.

The Church invites dialogue and continually conducts this dialogue with the world. There should be no “holy calm of ossification” in intra-church dialogue. In dialogue with the world, the Church must not forget its mission. Dialogue should be a testimony of Christian living the Gospel. Prayer and dialogue are the best ways to resolve difficulties. The key in dialogue and opening up to the other person is to listen to him with your heart and allow him the freedom to be himself, according to the principle: we listen, we don’t condemn.

A serious obstacle to dialogue with the world is the lack of catechesis for adults, who would be adequately prepared in this way. There is a need for good formation to prepare young priests for dialogue with the world and in communities within the Church.

Dialogue is difficult with people who live in the world of material goods and do not see the need for spiritual development. In addition, it is difficult to dialogue with people who have rejected the existence of God and with non-believers who are closed in their views to cooperation. In dialogue with the world, aggressive noemarxism is a serious threat.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/diecezja-kielecka/]

Here is an attempt to synthesize the submitted votes by subject criterion.

1.1 Dialogue in church and society

1.1.1 How are conflicts and difficulties resolved in your community?

The most commonly indicated way to resolve conflicts is simply to talk, of course, with the participation of the pastor or other pastor in charge of the problem group.

This is a difficult and sensitive topic. Most often, we find out about the conflict when it is so big that it cannot be hidden, and it is often too late. First: we try to solve it ourselves, among conflicted people. If this is not possible, we turn to – usually one of the parties – To people who can be trusted. Such a person might be, for example, an elderly priest who enjoys authority. When the issue is high-profile, other people join in spontaneously.

Sometimes priests participate as mediators in matters that are not directly related to the parish, but happen within the parish and affect its residents, such as the creation of a safe crossing for pedestrians or the construction of a sidewalk at the blind cooperative.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/archidiecezja-lubelska/]

1.1 Topics of meetings concluded with the formulation of conclusions

1.1.1 Complicated relationship between clergy and lay faithful

Members of the synodal teams have observed with concern the passivity of the laity in their parish communities, i.e. the poor implementation of the duties flowing from the sacraments of baptism and confirmation. In order for lay people not involved in parish life to feel at home in the parish, it is necessary to return to the Council’s concept of the parish as a community of communities. Therefore, it seems right to restore the actual functioning, or create from scratch, the interfaces of communication. This includes, for example, the parish councils: pastoral and economic. It is known that the decisive vote always belongs to the pastor, nevertheless the advisory bodies or formation communities, should serve the lay faithful for proper growth in the Church.

It should be added that dialogue between clergy and laity is hampered in many places. Thus, the problem of forming new communities arises. According to lay members of synod groups, this may have to do with specific old schemes, clericalism and ossification of structures.

1.1.2 Material aspect of the Church community

An essential element in the operation of the Church, and one that is both sensitive and emotionally charged, is finance. In many countries the matter is more transparent, for example, the faithful pay a tax. In Poland, the Church subsists on the offerings of the faithful. Members of the synodal groups believe that the Polish model is more favorable because of the educational dimension. This is because it teaches to love, to share what God gives, or to see material goods as means to salvation. However, for the model to function properly and not raise tensions, maximum transparency is needed. Detailed reports presented to the general faithful are postulated. This can be done, for example, through the parish economic council. The elected members of such a body should have an advisory voice in the context of the investments undertaken.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/diecezja-lomzynska/]

1.1 Dialogue in church and society

The question of dialogue was a difficult one, as it not only required determining how we understand dialogue, but also facing the question of whether each of us is ready to enter into dialogue with others: “Dialogue requires perseverance and patience, and this is what I lack and what I find difficult, because everyone in the Church is dug into their positions. Perhaps this reflects social divisions? Because in the Church, too, dialogue comes out hard for us. We keep focusing on drawing out differences rather than what we have in common and yet there are different ways of experiencing the faith, people respond to different things. I, for one, cannot call myself a man of dialogue, which I very much regret, and internally I very much miss such a dialogue. I am tired of the constant search for differences and sensationalism. Maybe that’s why my lack of persistence in dialogue is because I’m tired of constantly focusing on differences.” “Nowadays in the Church we rather experience conflicts and divisions, and I think that people don’t want dialogue, maybe they are afraid of it, maybe they haven’t matured for it. I guess the most important question at this point is whether we want dialogue at all.”

Facing the problem of dialogue in the formula of synodal meetings showed two dimensions:

  1. The difficulty in engaging in dialogue relates to clergy-secular relations: “We see that our society is no longer in its majority Catholic, although certain customs still unite us. Meanwhile, the Church is trying to live as if nothing has changed, trying to preserve existing structures and arrangements.” We live in two different worlds – environmental bubbles, and it is the secularists who realistically encounter the pagan reality on a daily basis. The difficulty with the difference in these perspectives translates into difficulty in engaging in dialogue. There is a clear lack of understanding on the part of presbyters and bishops that in order to evangelize they must confront the world outside the space of their own rectory (curia), and it is necessary to engage in dialogue with parishioners in order to jointly create a space of dialogue towards those who remain on the periphery of the Church.
  2. divisions in the Church also run across dimension one. We can observe divisions between priests and the faithful around them, who have their own visions of the Church created in opposition to the “inferior” visions of other presbyters and the laity gathered around them. Examples include precisely the critical attitude towards the synod, the teachings of Pope Francis, favoring a certain vision of the Church represented by different bishops, or sometimes fierce disputes during pandemonium over, for example, the manner of receiving Holy Communion, even leading to quarrels and deep divisions among both laity and priests. Each group entrenches itself in its positions, perceiving a different perspective as fundamentally damaging to the Church.

On the other hand, the synodal meetings showed that creating spaces for dialogue is possible. The sometimes astonishing consistency of voices in the syntheses coming from different backgrounds and parts of LA showed clearly what the Holy Spirit is saying to the Church. This aspect shows that perhaps we are not as divided as we think and talk about it. Perhaps we focus too much on our own points of view, without seeking common ground for unity. This is not about invalidating disputes, but about changing the way we think about each other. “I associate the theme of dialogue with listening and with humility, which I find very lacking. I often find it difficult to take in what the other person is saying and engage in dialogue. This is also lacking in the Church, which is why I signed up for these synod meetings. It is very necessary to establish a dialogue and look calmly at others. This is very much missing among the laity, and what we are experiencing here shows that we can talk, express our opinion, and this is a very good way for us to learn dialogue, which for me is mutual tolerance and learning from each other.”

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/archidiecezja-lodzka/]

Below is an aggregate compilation of the collected voices in the key of the ten synodal issues. All statements were taken from the reports, emails and other voices presented, then reworked and adapted for this report. Each issue is preceded by a brief, general philosophical-theological-pastoral reflection, after which specific indications (conclusions) are written for further work in the synodal process in the Diocese of Plock, that is, steps to be taken in what has been discerned as the voice of the Holy Spirit.

1.1.1 Conducting dialogue in the church and society

The conditions of the modern world are not conducive to dialogue, including at the diocesan and parish levels. New lines of division, manifested in church communities as well as among pastors, often cause discouragement to seek ways of convergence and peace. However, this does not mean that these difficulties cannot be overcome based on Christ’s indication and encouragement of brotherhood.

  1. While religious lessons offer great potential for evangelization and formation, there is a need to reflect on the way and methods of implementing them. The poor quality of these activities results in reluctance and even abandonment of youth participation.
  2. In the context of the sexual revolution, a pressing problem is the proper formation of the faithful and making them aware of Catholic anthropology, the doctrine of sexuality and the theology of the body, as developed by St. John Paul II. The synodal votes pointed out the need for the Church to be more concerned about homosexuals, based on the Magisterium, contained in the 1986 Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Pastoral Care of Homosexuals by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, as well as other contemporary documents of the Catholic Church.
  3. Pope Francis encourages us to build bridges between generations, creating spaces of dialogue between young people and seniors. In this regard, a huge role should be played by each parish, where people of different generations can find different ways to get involved in social and community life. Not insignificant in this dimension is also the activity of senior citizens’ homes and nursing homes, where young people can discover the joy of love through volunteering and other ministries.
  4. Genuine dialogue also needs to be built through the work of Caritas, which is often the first stage and opening of opportunities for conversation with a person in need, the sick, the elderly, the rejected. Parish Caritas Teams, school circles and other forms of support face new challenges and opportunities for action, which should be recognized in pastoral work.
  5. The dialogue should also express concern for priests who have abandoned the clerical state or religious sisters and brothers who have left congregations. They are still in the community of God’s people, so they often require support and assistance and openness, which should not be overcome by the temptation to condemn.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/diecezja-plocka/]

1.1 Positive areas of church life and those in need of healing and conversion

1.1.1 Dialogue in church and society

Synod participants expressed a strong belief that the Church has a wealth of knowledge and experience in religious, ethical and social dimensions, making it an important actor in social dialogue. They recognize that the Church is called to be the guardian of human dignity, and especially to stand on the side of the socially excluded and the poorest: “Church people should themselves set an example of living a humble life.”

According to the majority, “dialogue between the Church and society is almost non-existent.” They assess the state of social dialogue similarly: “in the face of disputes, neither side wants to come out of its information bubble, and remains very partisan and intransigent on an issue.” Much of the synthesis expresses clear dissatisfaction with the involvement of some Church authorities in this confrontational style and the negative impact of these individuals on the quality of social dialogue: “The Church, especially the clergy, is facing increasing criticism, but few of them want to make this criticism constructive.” A relatively small number of participants expressed the opposite view: “The firmness of some bishops has a positive impact on social life, saving us from dangerous ideologies.”

A great many people have expressed disappointment – some people also speak of disgust – at the party-political involvement of important Church figures and the “alignment of the hierarchical Church with political power.” In their view, this harms the credibility and authority of the Church.

Synod participants, however, agreed in their assessment of intra-church polarization into supporters and opponents of the Holy See’s contemporary teaching. According to most, such a strong internal division, which includes clergy, makes the Church unreliable: “You don’t know who to listen to.”

A great many syntheses speak of the persistent mistreatment of the disadvantaged in the Church. The synthesized thought of a significant number of people is as follows: “They are not approached with sufficient empathy and kindness, despite the existence of persons and institutions responsible for helping these people. Victims of abuse continue to be treated with suspicion or it is suggested that they are deliberately acting to the detriment of the Church.” Doubts also recur in the syntheses: “Do the bishops really want to reliably solve the problem of abuse in the Church?”. There are also quite frequent opinions that the Church, even if to a much lesser extent, still “continues the policy of sweeping under the rug.”

Synod participants also recognized – this was the voice of a relatively large number of people – that some secular media exaggerate the emphasis on the “sins of the Church,” that they commit harmful generalizations and stereotypes. In turn, according to the same, but also others, “some Catholic media do not reliably address difficult topics, hide the truth, and even manipulate the facts.”

On the sidelines, there was also the voice that the Church gives the impression of not having a dialogue with modern science: “Not to change doctrine, but to look for the good in it, points of common ground, and thus attracted to each other.”

In addition, there was a resounding feeling among members of movements and communities that the Church is not sufficiently using the tool of Catholic social teaching. “There is no systematic teaching in this area. It does not show directions for thinking and acting. At least sometimes it seems that he is too afraid of conflict with political power that favors the Church.”

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/archidiecezja-poznanska/]

1.1.1 Dialogue requires persistence and patience, enables mutual understanding

According to synodal opinions, in “our Church” we (laity/spiritual) can’t talk to each other. Dialogue is emerging in small communities, pastoral groups. Yes, if there is no dialogue, then there are no conflicts and difficulties. This, however, means that problems are kept quiet, muted or wait-until they expire. It happens that a possible problem is solved by exclusion, stigmatization, rejection. As a result, there are rarely conclusive talks – no specific procedures, methods. The insights expressed in the words are valuable: “A proper relationship with God guarantees good communication with others”; “The purpose of the synod does not seem to be merely to prepare specific documents, but rather to implement the principle of synodality, which is to “walk together,” to listen to each other in the dialogue that takes place. The fundamental principle for creating fraternal relations and building unity with other people is to conduct dialogue.” How to have a dialogue? For example, one participant in the synodal consultation explained: “Implemented when conducting dialogue, interpersonal relations should be personal in nature and the fundamental value should be love. Only among people united by authentic ties of cordiality and mutual kindness, a person finds the right conditions for his own development and can best recognize what is important and valuable in life; experience such values as justice, truth, goodness, loyalty, cordiality, obedience, responsibility. Dialogue puts interpersonal relationships, based on Christian ethics, at the center of our attitudes and behavior. How the dialogue should be carried out: first of all, the focus should be on the person and not on the problem, because respect for the other person is more important than any issue we want to solve; and the encounter with the other person should be treated as an encounter with Christ in the brother. Secondly, the barrier of indifference to the dialogue partner must be overcome, showing genuine interest in him and his problems. This interest is a prerequisite for getting to know the other person, and this can be realized first and foremost by being able to listen well to that person, not just talking. Good listening is first and foremost listening with your heart, not your ears. Obtaining satisfactory results from dialogue often boils down to finding and emphasizing commonalities while maintaining and respecting dissimilarity (diversity); with this approach, dissimilarity will not be an obstacle to dialogue. A dialogue in which the subject is values that are extremely important for our spiritual life (e.g., faith, religious practices, attitude to life, etc.), it is very important to speak out in accordance with one’s own identity, showing also important differences, without agreeing to cross the line, which would be agreeing to evil and lies.”

Participants in the synodal consultations also signaled in this thematic area that the cooperation of movements, Catholic associations of the diocese is not obvious, it is rather vague, and generally this cooperation is lacking. It was explained that movements have different charisms and goals that define their specific identity. However, the sense and need for cooperation (cooperation of movement leaders is important) in terms of the Christian witness needed today was recognized.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/diecezja-rzeszowska/]

1.1 Dialogue in the Church

Synodal dialogue depends on courage, both in speaking and listening. Within each parish community there are various groups and associations. Dialogue and cooperation must be established in order to follow one path together. This is going well in many parishes, but there are also places where conflicts arise. In such cases, it is important to remember to resolve such conflicts quickly and effectively, to clarify disputed issues. The big problem seems to be stubbornly sticking to one’s own reasons and imposing one’s point of view on the other side. In dialogue, there can be no compromise on human dignity, morality or the teachings of Jesus Christ. Often, as believers, we will go against the grain. Dialogue in the Church should be full of openness to the other person, allow you to learn the interlocutor’s point of view and gain a new experience. A conversation can show a contentious issue in a new light. Repeatedly, participants in synod meetings stressed, the paucity of dialogue in parishes between laity and clergy. Participants in the meetings themselves repeatedly stressed that the synodal meetings were a good form of dialogue, which should be continued. The other more traditional form of dialogue is pastoral visits, although these take place once a year and in many cases are inadequate. Another place where dialogue should be possible are parish councils. On the other hand, when it comes to young people, there can be many platforms for dialogue. The interlocutor should show an empathetic approach. The very fact that we do not condemn someone from the youth is an important part of evangelization. Even if we don’t immediately convince a young person of their faith, a good memory of contact with a believer can result in good things in the future. Understanding and empathizing with young people allows you to better connect with them and at the same time build relationships that bind for the long term. A common problem in such dialogue is the desire to rule over the other and a lack of humility.

[Source:

1.1 Conducting dialogue in the Church and society

The Church is called to proclaim the truth, to be faithful to the Gospel. So it cannot adapt to the world, adopt its mentality. Nevertheless, dialogue skills are necessary, which requires the ability to listen and speak up. When engaging in dialogue, both in the Church and in society, we need to get rid of our selfishness and look at the other person with love and respect. We cannot be outraged by the fact that someone thinks differently than we do. It is necessary to try to understand his way of thinking in order to then show possibly that it is possible to do otherwise as Christ teaches. We can see that dialoguing makes it difficult. It sometimes stems from our prejudices or the temptation to “rule” over another person.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/diecezja-siedlecka/]

1.1 Dialogue in church and society

  1. What is still needed is a kind and understanding dialogue within the Church, based on patient listening to the voice of believers and those of other faiths and non-believers, but contributing to society and the state.
  2. The value is to take care of the time set aside for meetings in a fraternal spirit, both for priestly meetings and among lay Catholics, as well as meetings that unite different states of life in the Church. Of particular importance here should be the Days of Reflection. Experience shows that nothing can replace real live meetings, meetings in communities where there is prayer, faith sharing and listening to the Word of God together to confront our lives with it. The way to do this is through actual dialogue between people, carried out live, without IT intermediaries.
  3. It would be helpful to establish a so-called venues for dialogue, meetings within individual parishes or the deanery and in the broader diocesan meetings (e.g., meeting rooms). During such meetings, you can invite different people and even offer to organize thematic workshops and further education that broaden horizons, interests, knowledge and skills. A good space for developing dialogue is sports and tourism, which have a community dimension.
  4. It has been noted that there is competition among various parish groups or circles, which is not edifying and sometimes becomes anti-testimonial. We want to build an atmosphere of complementarity among ecclesial communities so that, while maintaining forbearance, we respect different charisms and spiritualities, with the aim of building unity in the Body of Christ, which is the Church.
  5. It is beneficial to look for opportunities for dialogue, such as during meetings at the parish office, on the occasion of a funeral, baptism, wedding, first Holy Communion or special meetings. An atmosphere of kindness and mutual listening is a priority in personal relationships. Modern so-called. “Lack of time” to talk or meet with another person develops even more distance, leading to remoteness, anonymity, loneliness and inner emptiness.
  6. We intend to continue cooperation with Poland’s neighboring dioceses and the Diocese of Berlin. Thought could be given to taking advantage of the diocese’s geographic location to intensify these contacts and organize joint celebrations to mark anniversaries of historical events.
  7. The dialogue should pay attention to refugees and migrants, of whom there are more and more. When helping them, translators into Polish can be used to be a support in communicating and breaking down language barriers. These activities should be used to help learn and understand the culture, history and Polish traditions, so that everyone can know them more deeply and preserve them in everyday life.
  8. We recognize the value of expressing a clear and unified voice of the Church. Sometimes lay Catholics have the impression of “doublespeak” when one priest says something different from another on the same topic, or take different actions in their parishes without preserving diocesan unity based on obedience to the Church’s Shepherds. The fact that a clergyman makes negative statements against another clergyman, as seen on the Internet, is also a painful feeling. Lay Catholics expect the Church, like parents to children, to speak with one voice in expressing its position and taking united pastoral action. Otherwise, the impression is created of a private approach to the Church and the appropriation of pastoral activities, which is at odds with the preservation of Church unity and Tradition.
  9. The dialogue is supported by existing Catholic media, such as. Radio Plus – Szczecin, Lipiany, Gryfice, TVP 3 Szczecin “Arka”, weekly “Sunday” and others. In order to reach even more people with the Gospel message, their program offerings can be rethought and disseminated to the faithful. Websites and social media are a particular opportunity, providing quick communication. It seems pastorally useful to use social media to a greater extent than before. Experiences of the time of the so-called “time of the world. pandemics can be useful here.
  10. The cooperation of state institutions with the parish at the provincial, local, municipal and municipal levels should be appreciated. This is especially important when organizing Masses to celebrate anniversaries, national celebrations, but also during religious ceremonies, such as the Corpus Christi. There is a need for continuous daily cooperation at various levels with state institutions, which can be both supportive and locally uniting different communities.
  11. It is valuable to cooperate with various companies to carry out renovations of religious buildings and parish houses.
  12. It noted the gradual withdrawal of the Church due to the hostility of some social circles. Dialogue based on mutual benevolence can be an aid to establishing good relationships, resulting in effective cooperation.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/archidiecezja-szczecinsko-kamienska/]

1.1 Conclusions of the meetings

1.1.1 Meeting III: dialogue – mission

The third meetings were held primarily in February and March 2022. These included 2 groups of questions (see Appendix 1). The questions dealt with the issue of dialogue (within the Church and the Church with the institutions of society) and the missionary nature of the Church.

From the notes sent, it is clear that dialogue in the Church is very limited (“the laity and the clergy, instead of forming a homogeneous community, stand as if on both sides of the barricade”), with many groups emphasizing that we are rather dealing with “pastoral monologues,” with the issue being viewed differently by some of the clergy, who emphasize their openness to dialogue. However, among the clergy, too, there is a problem of lack of openness to real dialogue – one clergy group pointed out directly, “we have the impression that we are not listened to by the bishop, because bishops don’t listen to priests; unfortunately, we don’t dare to talk about it.”

Overall, the notes provided indicated a great need to rebuild dialogue, as formulated in a note from one group of nuns: “we see that after the pandemic, the priority challenge is to ‘rebuild’ relationships within the parish community and between other parishes.” In this context, for many groups (lay people) the Synod was a very positive experience – for many people it was a unique, first experience of dialogue in the Church.

While dialogue within the community of the Church was indicated by Synod participants as unequivocally desirable, it was in the context of dialogue directed “outside” (other institutions of society: the world of politics, economics, culture) that significant discrepancies appeared. In addition to voices that “dialogue is sorely lacking in our society,” pointing to an understanding of dialogue as building bridges and mutual enrichment, there were many statements that “the Church is not supposed to learn, it is supposed to teach,” and that “the desire to normalize relations with entities unfriendly to the Church only leads to a loss of seriousness and respect for the Church institution, not only among its enemies, but also among its allies, as the doctrinal immutability of the Catholic Church, which is its strength is put to the test.” However, these doubts did not apply to dialogue with people living in poverty, which was seen as unequivocally desirable. In this context, Caritas was most often cited as a tool for dialogue.

Some of the groups also stressed that in addition to real dialogue within the Church, “there is a lack of information; there is a lack of spiritual guides and information on how to seek them.”

In the context of the second area addressed in the meeting – mission – it is worth pointing out that very many groups emphasized an awareness of mission as a task and a challenge, with very different definitions of the term. A term that captures the context of these statements well is a statement from one parish group that mission “is a witness to my life, a witness to others that cannot depend on the situation; this witness has an impact on how our Church is perceived.” In the context of the mission, there has been talk of the need for mutual interaction. One group of parish priests unequivocally pointed out that although “as far as the laity is concerned, a very small part is involved,” it is “not enough for a priest to be mission-conscious and use various situations to preach the Gospel. He will be left alone, succumb to discouragement, dissatisfaction without seeing the results of his mission. […] There is no need to struggle alone and lose strength. Then you can see that the community is evangelizing, giving a living witness. But the priests must care. Communities must have shepherds.”

There were also expressions of concern that “these days, just openly admitting in a secular setting to regular religious practice can be a serious challenge for some,” or, as one youth group noted, “being a practicing Christian today is old-fashioned, I don’t go out with my religiosity.” In addition to fear and apprehension, however, laziness (especially in youth groups, but not only) was systematically highlighted as a primary obstacle to the mission.

The need for formation for dialogue with the world through workshops, catechesis, and deepening of spiritual life has also been repeatedly signaled.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/diecezja-swidnicka/]

1.1.1 Dialogue in church and society

We notice the need for dialogue in every area of our lives. When it is missing, both personal relationships and marriage and family relationships cannot develop to their full potential. Dialogue in the Church community is characterized by similar relationships. Responses to this question, as with listening, highlighted the human-wide mechanisms that facilitate or impede dialogue. They noted the glimmers and shadows of dialogue in the Church, concluding – “in order to have fruitful dialogue in the Church, one must first improve the daily ability to engage in dialogue with one another.”

Definitely, in the opinion of those responding to this question, the Synod provided an opportunity for calm, substantive dialogue, as evidenced by m. in. The following statement: “The Fifth Synod of the Diocese of Tarnów – by gathering “grassroots” information and analyzing it, and by going out to dialogue with the faithful on difficult issues – is an example of doing the right thing in recognizing the signs of the times and making decisions with an eye toward looking ahead with a broad perspective.”

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/diecezja-tarnowska/]

1.1 Synthesis of the various synodal themes

The following is a synthesis of the various synodal themes. We have largely given voice to the participants in the synod meetings. Their statements are shown in italics.

1.1.1 Conducting dialogue in the church and society

The issue was raised in almost all individual surveys, while collective surveys (parishes, movements and associations) provided fewer responses on the topic. Basically, dialogue is defined: as listening and speaking, as an exchange of ideas and experiences.

1.1.1.1 Space

Survey respondents distinguish several spaces for dialogue. The primary space is the parish community (parish councils and prayer group meetings are places for dialogue). Dialogue is also undertaken: as part of pastoral visits. Dialogue conducted in small groups does not translate into initiating change, introducing new proposals or solutions. In larger cities, in parishes where there are several to even a dozen different formation and prayer groups, there is often virtually no contact between them. There is a perceived lack of internal integration. Each community is a hermetic community. There is a lack of cooperation, collaboration and setting common goals and common ministries in parishes despite the fact that movements or institutions have much to offer. After all, you can learn about new work methods and fields for involvement. The second level is dialogue with other dioceses. In many parishes, cooperation with neighboring dioceses goes unnoticed. If it exists it is limited to participation in pilgrimages, indulgences and one-time ceremonies reserved for the hierarchy and clergy. The third level is dialogue with the world of politics, economics, culture, civil society, the poor. It very often takes the form of interaction and cooperation with local government institutions. There is a lack of dialogue with culture and science. Dialogue with the poor is expressed in helping the neediest, organizing food collections or ” Christmas Eve for the lonely.” The last level concerns dialogue with representatives of other religions and non-believers. In practice, it does not exist. No space was organized for him.

1.1.1.2 Reality

Differences of opinion, conflicts and difficulties are often resolved arbitrarily. In a significant number of rural parishes, the parish priest acts from a position of sole authority, to whom the final decision belongs. Many times the statement is made that: “constantly the same parishioners feed several parish communities operating in ‘my Church’.” There are very few active parishioners. No new communities are forming in the parishes, no engagement and no authentic dialogue is visible. Most often, no lasting cooperation occurs with religious communities and lay movements. In the dimension of social dialogue, the bishops meddle too much in politics, polarize society and divide instead of easing disputes, calling for understanding. The relationship between the Church and the ruling party is glaring. Economic issues are a separate difficult problem for the Church.

1.1.1.3 Applications

The Catholic Church in Poland as an institution does not engage in dialogue. This is done only by some of its representatives. However, there are too few of them. Dialogue with politicians should be held, but the Church should not attach or identify with any political trend, so as not to cause divisions among the faithful. However, politicians should be reminded of Church teaching through dialogue. As noted: A stronger and unambiguous voice of the Church in the media is needed to show the value of faith. Also firmer on political issues when freedom of worship is violated.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/diecezja-torunska/]

1.1 Dialogue in the Church and Society

In the area of this issue, the vast majority of reports were about dialogue within the Church – a description of the current state, needs, challenges and ideas for improving dialogue in the Church.

Virtually every synthesis included statements about the paucity of dialogue in the parish between the laity and the clergy, the distance of the clergy from the faithful, or the lack of opportunities for dialogue with the church hierarchy. It was shown that communication is often one-sided – a lot of broadcasting (pulpit, Catholic media) and little receiving, listening.

It was repeatedly stressed that new forms of contact, new solutions and ways of integration and dialogue must be developed. Such a new platform for meeting and dialogue became synodal meetings, during which people not connected with any communities in the parish very often joined in. Very many parishes are expected to continue this form of meetings.

Traditionally, pastoral visits were cited as opportunities for dialogue in the Church, although it was stated that being able to talk to a priest once a year is not enough. In addition, it was often stated that parish or economic councils, if they exist, are the place for dialogue. Meetings of various groups, pilgrimages and outings were also cited as spaces for dialogue in the parish. In addition, it was noted that some parishes have parish cafes, in connection with which the idea of creating such venues was suggested and discussed, pointing out that they would have the potential to become a place for meetings and dialogue.

They pointed out the poor cooperation between parishes and called for more cooperation between parishes. This was justified by the fact that each parish has its own characteristics and not all formations or communities exist in all of them. A strong group operating in one parish can help form people from other parishes. In addition, the information mutually shared about communities or events is an opportunity to establish relationships and dialogue.

As for dialogue in society, they spoke of the high polarization of our society and the difficulty of getting rid of prejudices and stereotypes. It was stated that the crisis of dialogue in society is projecting problems of dialogue in the Church.

With regard to the indications from the Vademecum, the question arose, “what does it mean to learn dialogue from public institutions?” The danger of secularization of the Church, of becoming more like the world, was pointed out. Questions were asked about how to conduct dialogue so as to preserve the Church’s identity vis-à-vis the world. Concerns were expressed that, along with submission to the world, a betrayal of Christ is creeping in.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/archidiecezja-warszawska/]

1.1 Results of survey analysis in the key of the synod’s main themes

1.1.1 Policy

This point was highlighted in our diocesan analysis because of its importance. This is because it is clear in the responses that the faithful do not want to link the Church with politics, in principle at any stage. They believe this harms both the Church and politicians. However, the cooperation of the Church and priests with state institutions such as the Fire Department, Sanepid, and the Police is viewed positively. This type of cooperation is considered important and necessary. There have also been claims that state or local authorities or some institutions of power do not respond to signals and warnings from priests about reprehensible behavior – a priest reported a problem of drug abuse among young people, and municipal authorities ignored the warnings.

There have been many allegations in the surveys about the connection between the Church in Poland and the ruling party. This is viewed very critically. Post about. Rydzyk appears in several surveys in a negative context, while Radio Maryja is very often evaluated positively. As part of the response about cooperation with the media, this radio was mentioned frequently in the surveys.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/diecezja-warszawsko-praska/]

1.1.1 Dialogue in the Church and Society

The ideal of dialogue is seen as an exchange of ideas, opinions, leading to mutual enrichment. Common ground is necessary for dialogue to be fruitful. It is faith, the common good, and concern for common issues. In the relationship with the pastor, the place for dialogue is the parish office, meetings of the Parish Council and parish groups, religious chapters or catechesis. They also emphasized the importance and role of the pastoral visit (carol service), during which the faithful have the opportunity to talk freely with their pastor. The downside, however, is the rush that sometimes accompanies caroling.

Discussing the issue of dialogue, several important features of the dialogue were highlighted:

  • Listening before speaking, getting to know what the other party is saying,
  • not judging what the other party says without discernment – trying to get a perspective from the
  • spouse’s perspective (taking into account the differences between a man and a woman) and make a self-assessment of his behavior,
  • Sharing what one feels – trusting the other person and building an intimate relationship,
  • At the same time, however, not pushing your opinion at all costs, the ability to let go,
  • forgiveness – I listen differently when I feel gifted, in this way,
  • Appreciation of the other person – how it enriches me to see from the other person’s point of view.

Participants in the meetings also stressed that the erroneous image of the Church and the faith can be overcome by simply having human conversations and posing questions to those who are negative and confused. Also important is local media activity to straighten out certain issues and present the Church in a true light.

It was also pointed out that a believer should engage in social and political life according to his conscience. Politics is an area in which not everyone can be actively involved. It is the local community that is the place of everyone’s direct influence and where they should be most involved in building a better reality. Depending on their education, personality traits, upbringing, young people are involved in both political and social life. Faith is not a determinant of involvement in public life, although it should motivate one to do so and sensitize one to the welfare of others.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/diecezja-wloclawska/]

1.1 Conducting dialogue in the Church and society

Dialogue is a fruitful experience of some parish councils, communities and Bible circles, small groups where people trust each other and have relationships with each other. It often begins with informal meetings, a willingness to seek and accept the truth, to tackle difficult topics with listening to other people’s experiences. It then generates joy and energy for action, allows us to discover diversity as a richness and discern charisms, and include non-believers of good will in joint activities. Dialogue among the faithful occurs most often when preparing and organizing events involving the entire parish or taking place at the diocesan level. Unfortunately, it is not an everyday occurrence for most church members.

What is lacking is a regular and inscribed style of dialogue between the various states in the Church, between communities existing in a single parish, as well as within these groups. Messages mostly come down “from the top,” generally lacking the opportunity to speak the other way. There is usually no space to exchange experiences, share insights, and broaden one’s perspective. There is a deficit of places for dialogue in the Church.

Dialogue is hampered by frequent withdrawal, the inaccessibility of priests, the claimant nature of the laity, political and social divisions, fear of meeting people who think differently, lack of time, the desire to find quick answers, and a lack of communication skills expressed, among other things, by the use of extreme, offensive language. Such a situation fosters tensions, building false perceptions about the other side, speaking “behind their backs,” murmuring, poisonous comments and impossible divisions or building illusory unity.

It would be useful today to organize open forums for dialogue, moving away from the Church of the “clergy monologue” toward a Church in which everyone is ready to listen to each other. Diocesan councils – pastoral and priestly – and most parish councils should be much more effective as tools for dialogue, including in communicating with non-members of these bodies. There is a great need for a space to talk about the problems of the Church in the Church. At the same time, it is very important that the Church does not exclude itself from the public dialogue on ethics, science and culture by ill-considered interventions that lower its credibility.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/archidiecezja-wroclawska/]

1.1 Conducting dialogue in the church and society

The synod consultations show that the difficulty of dialogue, both in the Church and in modern society, is mostly due to the imposition of one’s own vision rather than the search for common solutions. This applies to marital, family, parish, social and hierarchical spaces in the Church. Dialogue is not a threat, but an opportunity to build community and shared responsibility for the “today and tomorrow” of the Church and the Fatherland. Dialogue is to go beyond one’s own established patterns and an opportunity to get to know and understand each other, a path to holiness.

Dialogue should be conducted by the Church both with the outside world and within the community. It is an absolute instrument for building unity. Communities internally divided, sooner or later, will disintegrate. Pitting community members against each other will cause them to leave in an irreversible way. Today’s world is closed to the Church’s arguments, is guided by prejudices and stereotypes, and therefore in many cases rejects the Church’s message, treating it as inadequate to modern times.

It was suggested that in order to facilitate dialogue, boxes should be installed at the doors of temples into which cards with demands could be dropped, or offer to submit them by email or express them in a face-to-face meeting.

It is worthwhile for pastors to devote their private time to parishioners, if only by accepting invitations to family anniversaries or issued receptions to celebrate sacraments, such as First Communion and marriage.

The faithful expect their priests to be spiritual; to be, in a way, psychologists. A priest should be a true guide and friend of the faithful. It should teach that God is not from Christmas, that one should not be ashamed of Him and shut up in the four walls of the house. The Mass itself. and a sermon are not enough. Need to build community and trust with the laity, including non-believers.

Cadets and students at military universities stressed the importance of a good academic pastor who, by combining traditional and modern forms of evangelization, will help form future generations of officers. They also said that the Church today needs to reach out even more effectively to people and help them (especially the young) find the meaning of life. The students expressed the need for constructive discussions on taboo topics such as abortion, euthanasia, contraception and cohabitation. They stressed that they expect pastoralists to provide concrete and solid arguments to help them understand these topics and introduce informed conversation with their peers. It was noted that the chaplains’ attitude of openness and their willingness to listen and help contributes to people’s return to the community.

[Source: https://synod.org.pl/ordynariat-polowy-w-polsce/]

List of synodal topics

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W Kościele i w społeczeństwie jesteśmy na tej samej drodze, ramię w ramię.

Kiedy mówimy „nasz Kościół”, to kogo mamy na myśli? Kto w naszym Kościele „podąża razem”? Kto oczekuje, aby bardziej ku niemu wyjść i zaprosić go do wspólnej drogi wiary? Jakie osoby lub grupy są zaniedbane i nie objęte troską o to, by iść razem drogą wiary i stanowić jedną wspólnotę Kościoła?

Zestawienie odpowiedzi na te pytania zawarte w syntezach diecezjalnych.

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Słuchanie

Słuchanie jest pierwszym krokiem, ale wymaga otwartego umysłu i serca, bez uprzedzeń.

Czy umiemy słuchać siebie nawzajem w naszym Kościele? Czyj głos jest pomijany lub za mało słyszany? Z jakiego powodu? Czy potrafimy określić uprzedzenia i stereotypy, które utrudniają nam słuchanie innych? Czy z otwartym umysłem i sercem umiemy wsłuchiwać się w poglądy inne niż nasze; także osób spoza wspólnoty Kościoła?

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Zabieranie głosu

Wszyscy są zaproszeni do mówienia z odwagą i zaufaniem, to znaczy łącząc wolność, prawdę i miłość.

Czy w Kościele nasz/mój głos ma znaczenie i czy znajdujemy przestrzeń do wypowiedzi i bycia wysłuchanym? Czy czujemy, że przemawiający w naszym imieniu faktycznie reprezentują także nas? Jaki mamy na to realny wpływ?

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Celebrowanie

„Wspólna droga” jest możliwa tylko wtedy, gdy opiera się na wspólnotowym słuchaniu Słowa Bożego i sprawowaniu Eucharystii.

Czy liturgiczne celebracje i doświadczenie wspólnotowej modlitwy w naszym Kościele mają realny wpływ na moją/naszą praktykę codziennego życia: decyzje, wybory, inspiracje? Czy czujemy się zaproszeni do czynnego (praktycznego) zaangażowania w liturgię, czy też pozostawia nam się rolę „widza”? Czy sami pielęgnujemy w sobie pragnienie zaangażowania? Czy przeżywanie liturgii umacnia i motywuje mnie/nas do podjęcia misji ewangelizacji?

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Współodpowiedzialni w naszej wspólnej misji

Synodalność służy misji Kościoła, do udziału w której powołani są wszyscy jego członkowie.

Czy mamy świadomość, że jako ochrzczeni wszyscy jesteśmy powołani do misji ewangelizowania? Co nas hamuje w podejmowaniu tej misji i wspieraniu w niej innych: w nas samych, w środowisku życia, we współczesnej kulturze?

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Dialog w Kościele i społeczeństwie

Dialog wymaga wytrwałości i cierpliwości, ale umożliwia także wzajemne zrozumienie.

W jaki sposób w naszym Kościele rozwiązywane są konflikty i trudności wynikające z różnicy poglądów, dążeń, oczekiwań? Czy dialog jest naszym sposobem wychodzenia z tych problemów? Jak w tym kontekście wygląda współpraca różnych instytucji, organizacji i ruchów kościelnych? Czy umiemy uczyć się form dialogu od instytucji niekościelnych? Czy dialog jest również przestrzenią naszego spotkania z wyznawcami innych religii i zniewierzącymi?

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Ekumenizm

Dialog między chrześcijanami różnych wyznań, zjednoczonymi przez jeden chrzest,
zajmuje szczególne miejsce na drodze synodalnej.

Jakie relacje ma nasza wspólnota kościelna z członkami innych tradycji chrześcijańskich i wyznań? Co nas łączy i jak razem podążamy? Jakie owoce przyniosło nam wspólne podążanie? Jakie są trudności? Jak możemy zrobić następny krok we wspólnym podążaniu naprzód?

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Władza i uczestnictwo

Kościół synodalny jest Kościołem uczestniczącym i współodpowiedzialnym.

Kto w naszym Kościele podejmuje decyzje i czego one dotyczą? Czy jest to wyłącznie forma indywidualnego przewodniczenia czy jest też w tym wymiar wspólnotowy? Czy istnieje współpraca zespołowa i czy w tym kontekście promowane jest zaangażowanie świeckich, np. w radach duszpasterskich i ekonomicznych, w kierowaniu wspólnotami? Czy jesteśmy gotowi podjąć się współodpowiedzialności za podejmowane decyzje i działania?

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Rozeznawanie i podejmowanie decyzji

Na drodze synodalnej podejmujemy decyzje poprzez rozeznawanie tego, co Duch Święty mówi przez całą naszą wspólnotę.

Jak rozumiemy to, że Kościół jest hierarchiczny a nie demokratyczny? Czy w tak zorganizowanym Kościele widzimy miejsce dla wspólnego rozeznawania i podejmowania decyzji całego ludu Bożego wraz z pasterzami? Jak możemy wzrastać we wspólnotowym rozeznawaniu duchowym?

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Formowanie się do synodalności

Synodalność pociąga za sobą otwartość na zmiany, formację i ciągłe uczenie się.

Jak formowane są osoby, zwłaszcza te, które pełnią odpowiedzialne funkcje we wspólnocie chrześcijańskiej, aby były bardziej zdolne do słuchania i dialogu, rozeznawania? Czy mamy świadomość odpowiedzialności za własną nieustanną formację do odpowiedzialności i misji ewangelizacyjnej w Kościele?

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Peryferia

W wielu syntezach problem osób pozostających na marginesie Kościoła przewijał się w kontekście podstawowych pytań synodalnych. Jednak w niektórych opracowaniach peryferiom poświęcone zostały osobne sekcje – prezentujemy je w tym miejscu.

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Młodzież której nie ma

Palący brak młodzieży w Kościele zauważono w prawie każdej syntezie diecezjalnej. Najczęściej poruszano tą kwestię w kontekście pytań synodalnych. Czasami poświęcano młodzieży osobne sekcje – prezentujemy je w tym miejscu.

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