Those who follow my blog assiduously (I think there are three or four of you) will have noticed that I skipped Day 5 of the Synod. Not that it wasn't interesting. But I came down with a real man's cold. (You know how much worse that is than a woman's cold. A woman gets a cold and keeps on working and caring for the household; but a man gets a cold and everything stops!) Poor me: coughing, sneezing, blowing my nose, burning throat... and all during a humid heat wave which is causing even the Romans to complain. This Roman October feels like the worst summer days in Gatineau. So I just didn't have the energy to get my ideas together for my blog over the weekend--- all the more so since I had to work a bit on the Synod message. As I remarked in an earlier post, I was named to the committee which must prepare a message for all the families of the world on behalf of the bishops gathered here in Rome. We are well led by Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi, man of great culture, specialist of the Bible and noted author. With him, the work is easy. We spent time together Friday and Today polishing the draft he prepared for us. The text will be published at the end of the Synod. I think it will be quite beautiful.
Meanwhile, we finished the undending 4-minute talks that each bishop was allowed to give (there were nearly 200!) I must admit, after having lived through this twice (the first time being in 2005 when I participated in the Synod on the Eucharist), I would like to see this procedure seriously reviewed. I am sure there are other processes that would be more efficient, interesting and fruitful. I hope they'll make a thorough evaluation of this process after the Synod.
This morning, we received the «relatio post-disceptationem», that is, the synopsis of our discussions of last week. I admire Cardinal Erdo and his team: in two days, they were able to present a synthesis which holds well together, written with an open and engaging style. A serious problem has arisen, however. This text, which is but a working instrument helping us to identify the questions which now need to be clarified, has been made public. Unfortunately, the media have interpreted it as the Synod's position, while it is only a sampling of options that have been presented to date. We now have to work to find a common language, a vision that will be acceptable to the great majority of bishops. This involves mutual listening where individual positions are adjusted in light of the wisdom we hear from others. I believe the final text will be quite different -- at least on some points -- from the 'relatio' we have received today. We risk seeing an unplesant media spin in the days that will follow. I must say I'm starting to better understand the experience which must have been lived during the sessions of the Second Vatican Council 50 years ago!
Let me end on a positive note. This eveing, I went to a 'spiritual concert' put on my a friend of mine, Father Pierre Paul, the director of music at Saint Peter's Basilica. This concert was made of various works by Bach and Haendel, interspersed with texts that presented the spiritual journey of Pope Paul VI whose beatification we will celebrate next Sunday to conclude the Synod. This concert was a beautiful moment of prayer for me that allowed me to discover the great spirit of this good Pope who not appreciated enough in our world. On this Canadian feast of thanksgiving, I say Thank you, Lord for music, an undeniable sign for me of the existence of the soul and of the transcendance of the human being. Good night to all!