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ROME – Theologians from Latin America are coming together to organize an “intercontinental and intercultural” online course for up to 100,000 students on synodality, to encourage participation in Pope Francis’s major consultation to change the way the church makes decisions.
“The first course will be held in July 2022,” said Rafael Luciani, a Venezuelan theologian, who is helping organize the seminar.
“Over a period of three weeks, different topics on common discernment and decision making in the church will be offered. We invite you to register and get involved in the challenge of imagining and building the church of the third millennium,” he said.
Luciani is a member of the theological commission of the General Secretariat of the Synod. Pope Francis opened the Synod on Synodality last year, and it will culminate in October 2023, when hundreds of bishops will gather for three weeks in Rome to discuss the issue.
Luciani told Crux that the Synod on Synodality “represents a new stage in the ecclesial life that invites us to generate processes of conversion and reform to build a synodal church in this third millennium.”
The lectures in this summer’s online course will discuss discernment, decision making models in the church, and other areas of church leadership.
“We wanted this to be part of the contribution of the church in Latin America to the other continental churches in order to build bridges and share knowledge and experiences,” Luciani said. “We do not want to teach or propose ourselves as an ecclesial model, but to integrate ourselves to other ways of being church and learn from those experiences that many times we know little about.”
Reciprocal exchange is fundamental, he said, so people can explain and learn at the same time, growing through the exchange of experiences.
According to the Venezuelan theologian, since Francis’s 2016 speech on the 50th anniversary of the commemoration of the Institution of the Synod of Bishops, the theme of synodality has been central to understanding what will be the challenge when imagining and building a new institutional model for the church of the third millennium.
“However, there are many people who say they do not understand what synodality is and what it will change in the church,” Luciani said. “Since it is something new in the ecclesial experience of the third millennium, the course seeks to offer theological elements and pastoral experiences that collaborate with the understanding of synodality in the light of the church’s tradition, sacred scripture and the current deepening of the Second Vatican Council. In particular, taking into account the centrality of the ecclesiology of the People of God in the council.”
He said the course is not limited to theoretical content, but will also offer concrete experiences and contributions that already exist in many cultures on all continents.