New Zealand particpants will be sending posts from the Synod on Marriage and the Family in Rome this month.
Here is a post from Bishop Charles Drennan.
Some descriptions of globalisation suggest it is a kind of assimilation process; a melting pot that blends. I’m not convinced that works for the Church.
This Synod is certainly helping us to come to know each other better; but what we are appreciating more is our differences not just obvious similarities of shared faith. Culture and context matter. We are not monolithic. Different questions emerge in different places.
The following scenario is unlikely to come across the desk of a Kiwi Bishop but in some places it’s not uncommon: a Catholic woman marries a Muslim man. Their marriage is happy and they are blessed with children. Then some years on he decides he wants a second wife. His religion and civic law permit this. Where does this leave the first wife who may find the situation untenable?
One of the major criticisms of the Instrumentum Laboris (working document of the Synod) is that it is far too Eurocentric in both its thought processes and its depictions of Christian life. I’ve mentioned this before. Anyhow, the small group work has certainly addressed this skew. In our group we learned that 8,000 children and teenagers turn up for weekly CCD (Catechism) classes – where? Somewhere in Poland? No, muslim Dubai. Nor have we neglected to point out the many good initiatives and enthusiastic young people and families in “the west.” More subtlety thankfully is being filtered into the text.
I’ve noted regional differences but don’t get me wrong. We are not divided between continents. Even the French continue to chat with me. Unity prevails and at many levels. I was reminded of this at breakfast this morning at Casa Santa Marta. Sensibly the guests’ tables are circular. As I munched through my muesli I marvelled at the range of people at my table. Synod participants from Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Chad, Tonga, Brazil, Austria, South Sudan and New Zealand.
Tables are builders of communion.
Bishop Charles Drennan is Bishop of Palmerston North.