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.
There are synods at different levels of the Church. A gathering of bishops world wide is called a "sanctus synodus", holy synod or ecumenical council. Vatican II was such a holy synod. There can be national synods or plenary councils as in the Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (1885) that produced the famous Baltimore Catechism fondly remembered –if not memorized – by Catholics of a certain age. Finally there are Diocesan Synods.
The conduct of diocesan synods is spelled out in Canon Law (460-468). Among the most important aspects of the diocesan synod: * 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 presbytery, some superiors of religious institutes and societies of apostolic life, lay members of the Christian faithful...chosen... in manner to be determined by the diocesan bishop.
* if the diocesan bishop has judged it opportune, he can invite 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.
Synods in the Diocese of Burlington
There has not been a synod in the diocese for fifty years. In 2004 Bishop Kenneth Angell indicated support for a synod and there was significant support in the presbyteral council. However, because Bishop Angell was about to retire, it was not possible to convoke a synod. After consideration, Bishop Matano, declined to convoke a synod. CCOVT believes that the arrival of a new bishop is an opportune time to review the needs and desires of Vermont Catholics through a synod in the Diocese of Burlington.
Our website address, www.gmcatholics.org, reflects our felt connection to our green mountain heritage.
On Saturday, October 18, 2014, more than fifty Vermonters met at The Weston Priory and participated in a discussion about the need for a Diocesan Synod. To access the report of our Day at Weston, click here.
CCOVT is now planning to meet the next Bishop of Burlington, once installed, and will present the report from the Weston gathering to him requesting that he convoke a synod of the Diocese of Burlington.
A diocesan synod is an official convocation of clergy and the faithful to assess the needs of the diocese. A diocesan synod can be convoked by the bishop of a diocese at any time that he judges it is appropriate.
A Call for a Synod in the Diocese of Burlington