Concerned Catholics of Vermont: Call for Synod
Designed by Concerned Catholics of Vermont @2013, a nonprofit and unaffiliated organization.
CCOVT is a small faith group hailing from across Vermont. We seek to promote and encourage thoughtful and respectful discussion within the larger Vermont Catholic community on the current state of our Church. We, faithful people of God, are the Catholic Church.
Our faith is founded on holy scripture, in the precepts of the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, in the message of love as demonstrated by our Savior, Jesus Christ, and in a Catholic Church, open to the world, that celebrates the responsible formation of personal conscience through community discernment and prayer.
We hope for the growth of our initiative among Vermont Catholics and for the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to guide us in positive engagement with one another, lay, vowed religious, and clergy, to affect lasting inclusivity, justice, and continuing constructive dialog.
Our website address, www.gmcatholics.org, reflects our felt connection to our green mountain heritage.
Why a Synod for the Diocese of Burlington? There has not been a synod in the diocese in the past fifty years. The absence of a synod in the diocese is not unusual – very few dioceses in the United States have held synods in that period. Synods it seems had gone out of fashion. The election of Pope Francis, his commitment to a fully pastoral Church and the two major synods on the family he convoked in Rome, suggest that synodality has re-emerged as a vital activity for the People of God.
Bishop Coyne & a Synod: Concerned Catholics of Vermont (CCOVT) has communicated in writing and in two meetings with Bishop Coyne our commitment to a synod. The Bishop has indicated that he wants to understand the needs of the diocese before he determines whether a synod is appropriate.
We are encouraged by his willingness to consider a possible synod and we applaud the various ways in which he has come to know the Catholic people of Vermont by his extensive visitations with parishes. The recent establishment of The Diocesan Pastoral Council as an instrument for communication between his office and the laity is a significant event.
A Synod for the Diocese of Vermont
What is a Synod? The word “synod” comes from two Greek words: syn : with, odos: road. A synod gives an opportunity for all members of our pilgrim church to reflect on the road that we travel together. A synod may concentrate on a single topic as in the recent Vatican Synod on the family or it may consider issues across the whole range of Catholic concerns as in the Second Vatican Council (1962-65).
A Diocesan Synod: The conduct of diocesan synods is spelled out in Canon Law (460-468). Among the most important aspects of a diocesan synod as stated in Canon Law:
“ the diocesan synod is a group of selected priests and other members of the Christian faithful of a particular church who offer assistance to the diocesan bishop for the good of the whole diocesan community....”
“ the following must be called to a diocesan synod and are obliged to participate in it:
diocesan officials, members of the presbytery, some superiors of religious institutes and societies of apostolic life, lay members of the Christian faithful...chosen...in a manner to be determined by the diocesan bishop....”.
“if the diocesan bishop has judged it opportune, he can invite as observers to the diocesan synod other ministers or members of churches or ecclesial communities which are not in full communion with the Catholic Church....”
“all proposed questions are subject to free discussion of the members during sessions of the synod....”
The special value of a Synod: The value of a formal synod is that it activates the diocese as a collective body becoming thereby a visible sign of the vitality of the diocese. The conclusions emanating from a synod serve as a diocesan plan and a guide to best practices for parishes and the diocesan offices.