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From a reform in mentality to the structural and institutional reform of the Church

Our contribution aims to seek new paths for everyone’s ecclesial participation, both in discernment and in decision-making processes, in accordance with the mission of the Church, in keeping with the classic principle whereby matters concerning all must be faced and approved by all

In February 2017, the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry promoted the first Ibero-American theology Conference. Men and women theologians, pastoralists from Latin America, Spain and Latin America began a journey of theological-pastoral dialogue, in Iberian-Latin American contexts. That first meeting highlighted the need to boost the process of dialogue and pastoral conversion between the different faculties of theology in Latin America. We reviewed the diversity of options and existing theological models, encouraging the recovery of personal relationships with the social and cultural places of our theology. This first initiative prompted us to deepen the understanding of the Second Vatican Council in the light of the principle of the pastoral of theology.

Doctrine must be placed at the service of the people and reflect their particular realities.

This intuition led to a second meeting, held in collaboration with the Pontifical Javerian University in Bogotá, in April 2018. On that occasion we reflected on pastoral care as a discipline inherent in ecclesial and theological programs, and not as a mere practical application of theology. During the second meeting we addressed the new challenges posed by the reception of the Second Vatican Council in the light of Francis’ pontificate, both in the processes of ecclesial reform and in the mission of the Church in today’s world. We published a number of books and two statements on these meetings which encourage a reform in mindsets understood as a fundamental aspect of pastoral conversion.

Today we believe that we must work towards the structural reform of the Church.

To this effect, we organised two conferences in recent weeks. One in Puebla, the Third Ibero-American Meeting at the Ibero-American University of Puebla, and one in Madrid, at the headquarters of the Paul VI Foundation. This year we thus brought together over 80 theologians, pastors and canonists from over 30 faculties of theology in Latin America, Spain, Italy and the United States to work together on the theme of synodality in the life of the Church. With these meetings we are offering concrete contributions to progress in the reform of the Church. We involved members of the so-called C9, the Council of Cardinals appointed by the Holy Father, along with other people with responsibilities in the governance of the Church and in the organisation of the next Pan-Amazonian Synod, which will be held in October this year. Furthermore, the theme of Synodality resounded at the assembly of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) ongoing in Tegucigalpa.

This is the time to progress from a reform in mentality to the structural and institutional reform of the Church,

in accordance with the Pope’s words: “Synodality is the path that God expects of the Church of the third millennium.” For this reason our contribution aims to seek new paths for everyone’s ecclesial participation, both in discernment and in decision-making processes, in accordance with the mission of the Church, in keeping with the classic principle whereby matters concerning all must be faced and approved by all.

We will soon be publishing new documents on our website along with videos to be used in communities and Theology Schools in order to continue deepening the path of Synodality.

(*) coordinator of the Ibero-American Conference of Theology, member of CELAM Theological-pastoral commission

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