Pope Francis Sends Message to the Hispanic Churches in Latin America "We are all God's people."



 SYNODALITY AND COMMUNION
VIDEO MESSAGE OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS
ON THE OCCASION OF THE PLENARY ASSEMBLY
OF THE PONTIFICAL COMMISSION FOR LATIN AMERICA
[May 24-27, 2022]
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Dear brothers:
I am glad that the members of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America can meet in plenary after the prolonged pause caused by the pandemic.
Before the Synod on synodality in the Church was convened, it was my wish that you could meet to discuss this topic, since the experience of the Church in Latin America has been expressed, after the Second Vatican Council, with some elements markedly synodal. I do not intend in any way to make here an exhaustive recount on this subject. Simply, by way of example, let us think that "communion" and "participation" were the key categories for understanding and putting into practice the III General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, held in Puebla. For its part, "pastoral conversion" was a relevant concept in the IV General Conference in Santo Domingo, and later, it would acquire even more centrality in the V General Conference in Aparecida.
Beyond the documents, it is the very pastoral reality of the Latin American Church that encourages me to think of it as an experience in which synodality has long taken root, and in which, however, we need to be more aware of our limits in order to mature and bear evangelical fruit on this path. That is not a new road. It is a path that the Church had at the beginning and then lost, and it was Saint Paul VI who set it in motion at the end of the Council when he created the Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops, to recover synodality. That in the Eastern churches it was always preserved, the Latin Church had lost it.
We are beginning to make a process explicit. As small children we take short, clumsy steps. Suddenly, we feel that our little synodal steps are the “great kairรณs”, but sooner rather than later we discover our smallness and discover the need for a greater personal and pastoral conversion. That continues to be one of the leitmotifs, personal and pastoral conversion.
I am convinced that, in an advanced way, the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean has made "the way by walking", that is, it has shown that a correct interpretation of the conciliar teachings implies relearning to walk together when facing the challenges or the pastoral and social problems typical of the change of time [1]. I say "relearn" because to walk together it is always important to keep the thought incomplete. I am allergic to thoughts that are already complete and closed. I remember when, at the beginning of Liberation Theology, a lot was played with the Marxist analysis, to which the Pope and the General of the Jesuits reacted very strongly. One/two volumes appeared, on Latin American intuition, on Latin American identity to follow this path, and almost eighty percent of the notes were in German, they didn't have the slightest idea. It was an ideologization of what a Latin American telluric path is. And I say telluric because Latin American spirituality is attached to the earth and cannot be separated.
I am convinced that, in an advanced manner, the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean has paved the way by walking, that is, it has shown that a correct interpretation of the conciliar teachings implies relearning to walk together when facing pastoral problems , the social problems typical of the change of time. And it is typical of the Holy Spirit to act the opposite[2], but this is possible when our thinking is incomplete, when it is complete it does not work.
When one thinks he knows everything, the gift cannot be received. When one thinks he knows everything, the gift does not educate us because it cannot enter the heart. In other words, there is nothing more dangerous for synodality than thinking that we already understand everything, that we already understand everything, that we already control everything. The gift is unpredictable, it is surprising, and it always exceeds us. The gift is absolutely free and does not require anything in return. There is no method to acquire the gift. The gift is undeserved and no one can appropriate it to control it. The gift is the Holy Spirit, who does not impose himself by force, but gently summons our affection and our freedom to model us with patience and tenderness, so that we can acquire the form of unity and communion that He desires in our relationships.
When I decided that the Pontifical Commission for Latin America (CAL) should continue and be renewed within the framework of the reform of the Curia, these ideas were not far from my heart. CAL is called to be a service organization that collaborates so that all of us in Latin America and the Caribbean enter into a synodal style of being Church, in which the Holy Spirit, who also calls us through the Holy People of God, is the protagonist, and not us.
Therefore, the CAL is a service, it is a diakonia, which should mainly show the affection and attention that the Pope has towards the region. Diakonia, service, that helps the various Dicasteries act synergistically and better understand the Latin American social and ecclesial reality. Diakonia that, in the name of the Pope, accompanies the progress of organizations such as CELAM and CEAMA, and Hispanic ministry in the United States and Canada, in communion with the universal Church.
CAL is not called to be a customs office, which controls things in Latin America or the Hispanic dimension of Canada and the United States, no. Its existence as an instance of service is justified by the peculiar identity and fraternity that the nations of Latin America live. CAL is an organization of the Roman Curia, an integral part of the Dicastery of Bishops, which has two lay secretaries – now a man and a woman – whom I have asked, based on their experience and personal profile, to complement help everyone to generate new dynamics and uninstall us a little bit of some of our clerical uses and customs, both here in the Curia and in every place where there are Latin American communities. Let's not forget that clericalism is a “quietist” perversion and in this sense, CAL should help us walk. Not to star, to help walk so as not to become a clerical instance.
CAL, through all its members, must promote true synodality as widely as possible. Communion without synodality can easily lend itself to a certain undesirable fixity and centralism. Synodality without communion can become ecclesiastical populism. Not both things together. Synodality should lead us to live ecclesial communion more intensely, in which the diversity of charisms, vocations and ministries are harmoniously integrated animated by the same baptism, which makes us all sons in the Son. Let us be careful of the one-person protagonism and let us bet on sowing and encouraging processes that allow the people of God, who walk in history, to participate more and better in the common responsibility that we all have to be Church. We are all God's people. We are all disciples called to learn and follow the Lord. We are all co-responsible for the common good and the holiness of the Church.
I thank you for your presence and I entrust the work during this Plenary to the Holy Virgin Mary of Guadalupe, Mestizo Mother of the “true God for Whom one lives”[6].
And please don't forget to pray for me.
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[1] Cf. Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii gaudium, 52.
[2] Cf., Let's dream together. The road to a better future, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2020, 57-58.
[3] Cf. INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION, Synodality in the life and mission of the Church, 55.
[4] VATICAN COUNCIL II, Const. Dogm. Lumen gentium, 4.
[5] Ibid, 12.
[6] A. VALERIAN, Nican Mopohua, trd. M. Rojas, Ideal, Mexico 1978, n. 26.

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