You Are Invited to Answer the Question:
“Where Do We Go From Here?”
Over the course of the next several months, Bondings 2.0 will be featuring an occasional series by a variety of contributors examining the question of what Catholics—laity and leaders—can do over the coming year as the Church prepares for the October 2015 Synod on Marriage and Family. Some of these will be original posts written for this blog, and some will be synopses and comments on articles originally published elsewhere.
This past year’s preparatory synod was remarkable for the openness of discussion about many topics, especially lesbian and gay issues. The conversation about sexuality has finally begun in the Church! Though the final report was not what we had hoped for, we now know that there are a number of bishops who are willing to speak out towards a more compassionate and equal pastoral approach for LGBT people.
Instead of dwelling on the past, let’s look toward the future. How do we get from this significant milestone to a more positive significant milestone at the 2015 meeting? You are invited to submit your thoughts for consideration.
In writing up your ideas, you may want to consider the following questions as prompts:
- What has been your reaction to the synod that has just completed? What did you think was good/bad about it? How do you feel about the final outcome? What was positive/negative about the experience? What was missing? What was too overdone?
- What do you think needs to be done in the year ahead to achieve an outcome at next year’s synod that is more in line with your hopes for LGBT ministry? Think about practical steps that both church leaders can do, but also steps that laity can undertake to make next year’s synod more LGBT-friendly. What can be done on both the large scale (i.e., managing the way the synod is conducted) and the small scale (i.e., what can be done in parishes and dioceses)?
- What are your hopes for the outcome of next year’s synod? What would be your ideal outcome from next year’s synod? What do you think can reasonably be expected to accomplish?
- Complete the phrase, “If I were Pope Francis, in planning for next year’s synod, I would. . . .”
- What insight or comment about the synod process have you read that you think is very helpful for planning for next year’s synod?
- Are there any personal incidents in your own life that you wish that synod participants could know about?
You don’t have to answer all these questions—or even any of them. They are just suggestions to prompt your thinking about the topic. Similarly, you do not have to follow the order of these questions; this is not a suggested outline. If you want to use one or more of them, you can start with whatever one you want. Again, you don’t have to use any of them if you have your own ideas.
As you write, please avoid simply complaining. The purpose of this series is to propose steps to take to make a better synod next year, not to complain about what happened this past year. Of course, avoiding complaining doesn’t mean that you can’t be critical about things which have happened. However, we want the overall mood of the pieces to be proposals, not diatribes.
There is no word count requirement, though, for blog posts, it is probably best to keep it under 1,000 words. 500—800 words is a good average. But, if you find you need more space to say what you want to say, don’t be constrained by length.
Email your submissions to: info@NewWaysMinistry.org. We will be in touch with you regarding editing and possible posting.
–Francis DeBernardo and Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry