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Intervention of Mons. Paul DAHDAH, Titular Archbishop of Arae in Numidia, Apostolic Vicar of Beirut of the Latins (LEBANON)



In the text of the Instrumentum laboris, the theological, trinitarian, christological and ecclesiological foundations of ecclesial communion are clearly expressed. They are the basis of sacramental life and the commitment of those baptized in the activities necessary for the growth of the Church in fidelity and holiness and to the development of works of service and witness within the society of men. They are also the reference of legislation that manages the relations between the members of the Churches, hierarchy and faithful, between the Catholic Churches and with the sister Churches.
The text mentions the ecclesial organisms already in place to favor and develop communion between the Eastern Catholic Churches on a global level, then on the level of Patriarchates and finally Eparchies. It points out the central role of the Patriarch and then the Bishop to favor communion, cohesion, unity in diversity. The text also underlines the “serious spiritual and moral responsibility” of the ministers of Christ and consecrated persons. (No. 58).
Apparently, all has been said, all is clear; but the text suggests that the reality is far from the ideal presented this way and there is still much to be done to achieve communion. The diagram of ecclesial institutions and the legislation that rules these structures seems perfect, but does this beautiful machine work? In no. 55 we can see: “to foster a unity in diversity, a rigid or exaggerated confessionalism must give way to encouraging communities to cooperate among themselves, coordinate pastoral activities and manifest spiritual emulation and not rivalry”. Elsewhere (no. 58) we can read: “many of the faithful expect of them a greater simplicity of life, a real detachment from money and worldly goods, a radiating practice of chastity and a transparent moral purity”.
The text seems soothing and shy to us; however, we can read a clear denunciation of the harmful effects of confessionalism and clericalism, pettiness, hungerfor profit, the search for power, comfort and titles in the members of the clergy and religious men and women who act without complexes as functionaries and being noteworthy. These types of behavior can but lead to scandal, to the disintegration of communion, the disaffection and contestation of the Church and the Christian religion, and make the bed for all types of sects.
In several particular pastoral situations, the faithful are faced with problematic attitutdes from the clergy which concretely concern ecclesial communion:
- The Sunday practice in the closest Church, no matter the proximity (local, affective, linguistic or other);
- The celebration of marriage in the Church of the spouse and not in that of the husband;
- Catechesis and first communion in a parish other than that the ordinary parish, question of language and culture,
- the passage of a faithful to another Catholic Church;
- The sometimes exorbitant fees demanded for the sacraments (baptisms, marriages, etc...).

In these situations and others the clergy and the religious persons often show that they don’t
understand what “ecclesial communion” is.

[00133-02.04] [IN095] [Original text: French]




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