Synod letter will inspire says Archbishop

Young people
Synod youth delegates arrive for a session of the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment at the Vatican Oct. 16. PHOTO: CNS/Paul Haring

While the Synod’s final report will be a report to the Church – especially the bishops and youth ministers – a separate Synod letter will inspire young people, Archbishop Fisher told global Catholic TV network EWTN.

Unlike a lengthy final Synod document, the letter to youth will be precise and hope to spark a flame.

This is the bishops speaking directly to young people. It’s short [and] to the point,” Archbishop Fisher told EWTN.

“I hope it will be inspiring. I hope it will make people want to be united to Christ and His Church and excited about their vocation and the great things they can do with Christ and the Church.”

However, he told the station during the interview, Synod fathers were still very much involved in revising the final report of the Synod so it was still impossible to predict quite how it would turn out and what its main points would be.

Archbishop Fisher said he hoped it would be short, but that some of the language and terminology used would puzzle to a lot of ordinary readers. Although a Synod letter will inspire the young, terms such as ‘accompaniment’, ‘synodality’ and similar terminology in the final document were a form of ‘in-house’ language that would take a lot of explanation.

Nevertheless, he said, “there are some beautiful things in this document which I hope people will discover for themselves.”

“If … the evangelical energy that it gives to people can present Christ afresh to young people and bring some more of them closer to Him, they will discover that this opens out their whole world – their whole horizon – and hopefully they will want to give thanks to Him,” he said.

Meanwhile, the first part of the Instrumentum Laboris (the Synod’s working document) had been viewed by many people as too faith-neutral, he said.

However “I think people will find the final document is much more self-consciously Christian from the beginning.”

He agreed that the idea of accompanying young people which has been so much talked about at the Synod means much more than walking with the young in a neutral sense.

Referring to the Emmaus Gospel episode which has often been raised as an image of accompaniment during Synod deliberations, Archbishop Fisher said while Christ listened to the two disciples He encountered, he didn’t remain non-judgemental; He then taught them.

This is why the bishops hope a Synod letter will inspire.

“Likewise, while the Church listens to the world and the young, it listens above all to God and in the end must speak as mater et magistra – as mother and teacher,” he said.

Urging young people to be saints and heroes was not, as it might seem, a tough today, the Archbishop said.

“I think many young people know in their heart of hearts the world sells them short,” he said.

They know deep down that it’s when aiming for big things and sacrificing yourself for big things that that’s when you’re really going to find happiness,” he said.

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