The letter in support of our priests (which, if you have not yet signed, you should sign at once) ends with the sentence: 'We pray, and expect, that our hierarchy will represent us, and the Church’s unwavering teaching, at the Synod this autumn.'
That raises the question: why should the bishops who attend the Synod represent us? A bishop is not sent as a delegate of the laity. He is not elected as a political representative.
But the answer lies in the second clause of that sentence: 'and the Church's unwavering teaching.' We have no right to be represented at the Synod because of who we are, or how many we are. However, if we understand the notion of Sensus fidei correctly, it means that when united with the constant teaching of the Church, the laity share in the genuine prophetic office of Christ Himself (see Lumen Gentium §35, and CCC §904).
It is that which we wish to have represented at the Synod; indeed which we 'pray and expect' to be represented. How could we not?
Our responsibility here is also enshrined in Canon Law, which states that the laity 'have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church...' (see CIC can. 212 §3 and CCC §907).
Can anyone doubt that now is just such a time, when we have a duty to manifest our opinion?
I believe that it is, and that this letter should only be the first occasion of our doing so. Which raises another question: what next? Answers in the comms box, please!
(And if you haven't yet signed the letter, which is different from the petition, do so now. And vice versa.)
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