Enlarge the space of your tent
Enlarge the Space of Your Tent
Presentation of the Working Document for the Continental Stage.
“Looking to the future of the synodal process requires considering two very different time horizons. The first is the long-term horizon, in which synodality takes the form of a perennial call to personal conversion and reform of the Church. The second, clearly at the service of the first, is the one that focuses our attention on the events of the Continental Stage that we are experiencing.”
(Continental Stage Document, No. 98)
The Working Document for the Continental Stage of the Synodal Path 2021-2024 was presented on October 27. “It is the tool for continuing the listening, dialogue, and discernment of the Continental Stage of the synodal process.”
The Continental Stage is the third step on this synodal path of consultation, to which Pope Francis invites all the People of God. Begun in October 2021, it will close in October 2024 (at first, it was scheduled to close it with the Synod in October 2023, but recently Pope Francis delayed the closure by a year and divided the Synod into two stages).
The quote that gives the document its title is Isaiah 54:2 “Enlarge the space of your tent!” Chapter 3: “Towards a missionary synodal Church” which is the longest deals exclusively with this theme, presenting the tent as the space of participation, communion, and missionary outreach.
The speakers at the presentation press conference in the Vatican Press Office included:
- His Eminence Card. Mario Grech, Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the Synod;
- His Eminence Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, Archbishop of Luxembourg; General Rapporteur of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (teleconnected);
- Prof. Anna Rowlands, Associate Professor of Catholic Social Thought and Practice, University of Durham;
- Father Giacomo Costa, SJ, Consultor to the General Secretariat of the Synod;
- Rev. Msgr. Piero Coda, Secretary General of the International Theological Commission;
“Synodality is a call from God to walk together with the whole human family”
(Continental Stage Document, No. 43)
Card. Jean-Claude Hollerich, speaking from Japan, stressed that “it is not a working document, but a kind of summary of the synthesis sent in by the Bishops’ Conferences throughout the world, Vatican Dicasteries, movements, and other Church entities,” such as the UISG and USG.
Over 40 people worked together with the Secretariat of the Synod to read all the contributions sent, and then draft a summary that “would be in tune with the dynamism of the syntheses received,” says Father Giacomo Costa.
“The syntheses reflect a deep desire for a renewal of the Church. This invites us to continuous circularity between prophecy and discernment, at all levels. In this Synodal Journey, the principle of restitution applies: we put this document back into the hands of the prophecy’s subject par excellence, the People of God.” These are the words of Card. Mario Grech.
This document is, therefore, returned to each and every one of us so that we may live it as a starting point for the continental meetings that will take place between now and March 2023. We are invited to send back what this document arouses in us and so prepare, in a choral and synodal way, the universal phase of the Synodal Path that leads us toward next year’s Synod.
Msgr. Coda emphasizes that the theological value of this text “is drawn from the fact that it is filled with the treasure obtained through the narrative of the experience of listening to the voice of the Spirit of the People of God.”
Everyone needs formation in synodality, the object of which corresponds with the method, so that together we may nurture a spirituality of synodality.
UISG Communications Office