Synod Propositions

The proposition of synod bishops to permit women to be officially installed in the ministry of lectors got a lot of press. It wasn’t the only liturgy-slanted suggestion. Proposition 15 suggests that priests need help in preparing homilies, and a “homiletic directory” would assist them. What would such a directory include? CNS Origins reports: homiletic principles and the art of communication. Sounds like Fulfilled in Your Hearing. A list of biblical themes that recur in lectionary readings, too.

This is a give-a-fish/teach-to-fish proposition. The bishops don’t want to write homilies for clergy, but they do need to step up on their responsibility for preaching and make sure seminarians and clergy both have the tools they need to become better preachers. Instead of a text document, or only a text document, they might consider an audio and video format online.

In Proposition 16 the bishops ask for a review of the Lectionary. Is “the current selection and ordering of readings … truly adequate to the church’s mission in this histoirical moment”? It’s a good question. The bishops ponder that the Old Testament needs greater attention. They also recommend that any future Lectionary revisions include our ecumenical partners.

Everything is now in the hands of Pope Benedict and the curia. We’ll see how it goes from there.

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Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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3 Responses to Synod Propositions

  1. Brendan Kelleher SVD says:

    Wondered when you would take a look at the Synod Propositions. Given the topic “The Word of God in the Life and Mission of the Church” it was of particular interest to someone like myself, a member of the Society of the Divine Word. As it unfolded, however I was disappointed with the overall quality of the interventions, exceptions being those from the SVD General Fr. Tony Pernia and Bishop Arturo Bastes SVD from the Philippines. Though I was a little disappointed with Bishop Bastes negative comments on the teaching of Exegesis. Before making that remark he should have sat down with Bishop Tagale, who still teaches both in Divine Word Seminary, Tagatay, and in the Jesuit ran Ateneo in Manila.
    The US bishops should have all re-read “Fulfilled in Your Hearing”(1982) before heading to Rome; it is a document they can be justly proud of. On the link between Exegesis and Theology more than adequate answers are given in the Pontifical Biblical Commissions “The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church”(1993). The latter is a document that then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger signed off on, but which his intervention as Benedict XVI ignores completely. But then again he has been harping on the same topic since the late 1980’s, and demonstrated a very limited acquaintance with contemporary biblical scholarship in his “Jesus of Nazareth”. I could fill pages with listings of books that are the marked by responsible biblical scholarship and sensitive to theological, here meaning particularly specifically Roman Catholic doctrinal concerns. If any readers of this blog are interested, may I suggest they take a look at Daniel Harrington’s “How Do Catholics Read the Bible?” (Sheed&Ward/Rowan&Littlefield) and Gerald O’Collins’ “Jesus: A Portrait” (Orbis Books). As I read Benedict XVI’s “Jesus of Nazareth”, time and again I wondered whether he had ever read any of O’Collins work or ever bothered to consult him. He was, until quite recently, just down the road, so to speak, at the Gregorian, where he served as Dean for many years.
    While the appearance of more women than ever before on the list of experts was to be commended, the absence of the names of major scholars from the English speaking world was a sad reflection on the limited knowledge of contemporary scholarship shown by those who composed the list.
    So the final list of propositions was rather disappointing, and some could even be called risible. If Bishops and priests don’t give time to both studying and praying the Word of God then there is no way they can teach others, lead others in praying. Compediums or Handbooks will not resolve the problem, and given the negative comments on the Catholic Catechism’s use of the Scriptures, some would even say abuse – many scripture texts were taken out of context and used, as in the old manual tradition, almost as proof texts – a handbook showing links between the Sunday readings and the Catechism is a project of dubious value. I have seen attempts to show such links on one or other homily helps site, and I wasn’t particularly impressed.
    The two proposiitons I would heartily endorse are for a revision of the Lectionary and the promotion of Lectio Divina. The ecumenical “Revised Common Lectionary” offers a good model for one way to revise the present Lectionary, and there are numerous excellent introductions to Lectio Divina already available, see for example the writings of the Australian Trappist Fr. Michael Casey.
    Putting it simply, the responses to many, indeed most of the concerns expressed at the Synod are already available, and have been for a good fifteen years or more. Bishops of the world, Curial officials open your eyes, look, expand your horizons and you will find what you are looking for.

  2. Todd says:

    Thanks for commenting, Fr Brendan. I haven’t seen the full set of propositions except in Italian, and since I understood translations were to be forthcoming, I’ve held off, but for commenting on the commentary, as it were.

    If anybody is aware of any English versions on the web–reliable translations–I’d be very interested in that link.

  3. Brendan Kelleher SVD says:

    Todd
    Though it is a “rush” translation, John Allen-NCR has the propositions on his posting for October 27th. I have found their translations fairly accurate. Sadly they don’t archive the english edition of L’Osservatore Romano and our copy has gone missing. Shall have to wait and see if they put up an English translation on Vatican webite.

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