David and Solomon, Special Guests at the Synod on the Young

David and Solomon, Special Guests at the Synod on the Young

 

[David and Solomon are mentioned in favorable and religious terms – not for some sort of approval of their sexual immorality (real or alleged): David for his supposedly homoerotic relation with Jonathan (King Saul’s son) or his adulterous relation with Bathsheba (resulting in the conception of a child and David’s connivance in the death of her husband in battle);  or Solomon with his many foreign wives and concubines, who influenced him to worship their gods! – AQ Tom]

Sandro Magister – 7/12/18

October 3, the first day of the upcoming synod of bishops, keeps getting closer. But still in the middle of July, the document that is supposed to function as the “instrumentum laboris” of the assembly is practically semisecret. It was presented to the media on June 19, but is still accessible only online and only in Italian.

Those who have read it, in any case, have not found it especially persuasive. Just as nothing memorable appears to have come from the preceding phases of preparation for the synod. The issue under examination is not the easiest: “The young, the faith, and vocational discernment.” But the preparatory work has consisted for the most part in a disordered series of “hearings,” either through questionnaires or through convocations of variously assorted young people, like the 300 convened in Rome last March, plus 15,000 who connected with them via the web from all over the world.

“Hearings” that have been handled with low-quality sociological models, to register “questions” and “discontents” that are already widely known. When instead, for example, to bring into focus the gap that to some extent all over the world separates the younger generations from the more adult in religious experience, it would be enough simply to take a glance at this recent survey by the Washington-based Pew Research Center:

> The Age Gap in Religion Around the World

The modesty of the preparatory work is evident above all in its dearth of purposeful guidelines. Just as Vatican Council II was expected to produce an original word spoken by the Church to the world, so also is the upcoming synod expected to produce a powerful word spoken by the Church to the young generations. A word that is not that which the “world” is already capable of speaking, but that has in itself the unique imprint of the “Verbum,” of the “Logos” made man in Jesus.

If these are the stakes at the upcoming synod, then the feature article of the latest issue of “La Civiltà Cattolica” is worth more all on its own than the whole useless pile of preparatory texts produced so far:

> “Io sono solo un ragazzo”

The author is the biblicist Vincenzo Anselmo, 39, a Jesuit, whose work in Naples includes the formation of future diocesan priests for southern Italy. In this article of his, he takes as a model for the Church – in terms of the young generations – God’s action with David and Solomon, both called when they were very young for tasks that were unthinkable according to human judgment, and yet decisive in the history of salvation.

Both David and Solomon were esteemed by God in part because of their talents – ability, courage, wisdom – that at first were hardly recognized if not derided by the men of their time, and even more because of David’s determination in transmitting to his son Solomon the divine law and promises, to remain always faithful in listening and obedience.

And God does not show leniency when Solomon sacrifices in the high places, giving in to that idolatry which was the temper “spirit of the times.” On the contrary, precisely there he appears to him and reawakens in him the desire for “a heart that hears” the divine word before and more than any other human word, according to what would become down to our own time the daily prayer of the Israelite believer: “Shema Yisrael,” “Hear, O Israel!”

After also recalling the story of the prophet Jeremiah, dismayed by the mission to which God calls him when as yet “I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth,” Fr. Anselmo concludes his article as follows: “In the history of salvation, the Lord relies on young people and entrusts precisely to some of them the fate of his people.”

It is to be hoped that at the synod the bishops will throw away the banal sociology of the preparatory texts and seriously take up this lesson of the Sacred Scriptures.

_________

As a side note, it must be pointed out that even among the young people convened in Rome for the presynodal meeting of March 19-24 2018, there emerged challenges to the document that the secretariat of the synod compiled from the meeting.

In particular, a large group of young people between the ages of 16 and 29, from the United States of America, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Poland, Ireland, England, and other countries as well, sent Pope Francis a detailed document of their own in English, which was presented and published in its entirety by LifeSite News on May 21:

> Catholic youth issue their own pre-Synod text: Proclaim truth “without apology”

It reads in part:

“We desire the Church to be popular, as we desire all to know the love of Christ. However, if the choice is between popularity and authenticity, we choose authenticity.”

And again:

“We reject utterly the notion that the Church needs to change her teaching to accommodate the world.”

A complete Italian translation of the document is now available, prepared by a young Pakistani representative of the group, Zarish Neno:

> Una risposta al documento finale del pre-sinodo 2018

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