• David Carlson

684 "Hearing the voice of the poorest in the synodal process".

Day 684 Saturday January 29, 2022

"Hearing the voice of the poorest in the synodal process"



Catholics in Paris have been looking for ways to more effectively include poor people in the synodal discussions that are currently underway in the Church throughout the world. A group of them were meeting January 27 at the Centre Sèvres – the Jesuit School of Theology in the French capital – for a day of reflection on the theme, "Hearing the voice of the poorest in the synodal process".


Sister Laure Blanchon, a teacher at the institute and author of a thesis on the Church and the poor, spoke said “by seeking to take into account the voice of the poorest, the Church wishes to reflect in a new way.



It is no longer a question of charity, but of putting the most fragile people at the center of Church life.


This shift is experienced in the St. Laurent network, for example, which, at the national level, connects Christian groups living in fraternity with the poorest. The Diaconia 2013 gathering was a real revelation of experiences and inspired many initiatives. At the Centre Sèvres, the proposals of the Jean Rodhain Chair, a research seminar that has existed for more than ten years, and the group of "theologians at the school of the poorest" attest to the importance of the issue.


How can we help the poorest in society have a voice? Our experience has shown us that speaking out is often a major difficulty for the very poor, for many reasons. They find it difficult to express themselves in public.



We believe the best solution for freeing their speech is to set up sharing groups in which they are in the majority, accompanied by "allies" who know them and who are completely available for making it possible for them to express themselves.


Conviviality is also necessary. It is not only a matter of offering a friendly setting, but of showing that we want to share the lives of those whose lives no one wants to share. Some of the tools usually used in group sharing -- reading, writing, certain abstract words - may not be appropriate. So we must invent other means: the life story, the slow sharing of a Gospel passage, working on a few simple words, etc.


(Sister Fox in the Phillipines)


We take into account that listening to the voice of the poorest is indeed a challenge. This presupposes a certain effort, guided by the certainty that there is something interesting to hear. This predisposition is necessary to put ourselves concretely at their service.


For the voice of this group to be a part of the synodal process takes time and patience. How can this voice deepen or modify Church life and its expression of faith?


Putting the poorest at the center only makes the Church more faithful to the Gospel. We can see how the Church is no longer credible in society.


But when Christians organize outreach, give their time to distribute meals, welcome LGBT people, when the pope visits a refugee camp in Lesbos, society is astonished and looks on.


When the Church gives a real place in the liturgy to the poorest, it is enlivened. The Church experiences something of the good taste of the Gospel. I am reminded of Jesus' encounter with the blind Bartimaeus in Mark's Gospel: the crowd first wants to stifle his appeals. Then, because they understand that Christ is encouraging him, they facilitate the encounter. And this has a prophetic significance:


deciding to unite with those who are sometimes considered as trash shows another way of living in society, one which can be fermented in a world which is fragmenting.



Read more at: https://international.la-croix.com/news/signs-of-the-times/the-synodal-process-2021-2023/14358


Read more at: https://international.la-croix.com/news/religion/fidelity-to-the-gospel-measured-by-including-the-poor/15557

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