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.
Notwithstanding the bus and metro strike, it’s great to be back in Rome. The beauty of its churches, lanes, piazzas, and palazzi uplift the heart. I unpacked quickly and ventured out in the late for afternoon. I was soon reminded of something an Australian priest friend of mine (Mons Greg Bennet, now the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Melbourne) had said to me some years ago when we were studying here: in Rome the streets are your parish. Within a period of three hours I had had a haircut from the same chap – Simone – to whom I had entrusted this delicate task while I lived here, had heard a confession, shown the way to various map clutching visitors, been invited to an art exhibition opening, and – as I found out when I went to pay the bill - had had in the warmth of a still early autumn Rome evening, a vino paid for by a stranger.
The intimate vibrancy of the street life of this most beautiful of cities never ceases to engage. One always feels ‘at home’. As I supped my vino filling time before a dinner appointment I was reminded how the task of the Synod will be to explore how to give air to the vibrancy of our own teachings and insights in such a way as to make them part of the life of every lane and street.
That’s no easy task. Yet a theology that does not shape the conversations, enliven the neighbourhoods, transform the lives of the people of our times is of what worth? As Bishops we teach – yes – but this does not equate to winning an argument or proving a point. We teach in order to elicit in others (and ourselves) a desire to live what we come to know and love.
Later afternoon had now given way to evening and so I wandered towards Taverna Giulia (at the Vatican end of Via Giulia one of Rome’s loveliest streets). It’s a Genovese restaurant and there I met Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Bishop Eugene Hurley of Darwin, and Fr Tony Banks OSA an Augustinian priest who is on their Council here in Rome. I had not met Tony before but he lived in Palmerston North when his father was manager of the BNZ bank there. Was a fun night with Kiwi Oz banter, great food, and good synod prep conversation.
Bishop Charles Drennan is Bishop of Palmerston North.