ACI Prensa Staff, Oct 16, 2023 / 18:00 pm (CNA).
José Miguel Gómez Rodríguez, the archbishop of Manizales in Colombia, shared his experience at the Synod of Synodality taking place this month at the Vatican, commenting on what this assembly can ultimately give to the Catholic Church and stressing that it “cannot remove pages from the Bible.”
The Synod on Synodality was announced in October 2021 with the theme “For a synodal Church: communion, participation, and mission.” Participating in the session taking place in Rome this October are 364 people including bishops, religious, priests, deacons, and laypeople. For the first time, non-bishops — including 54 women — will have the right to vote.
In an interview with ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner, the archbishop of Manizales responded to the question about whether the synod could approve the blessing of homosexual couples and the ordination of women: “No, but the Church already knows that answer.”
“Before the synod, a few days before, they published the pope’s answers to some questions or doubts that some cardinals had raised and there are also these questions, in such a way that what the pope wants is for us to handle with great respect and great delicacy the questions that people have in their hearts and that we answer them with so much respect that no one is offended, that everyone has clear in their minds the why of things,” Gómez explained.
The Colombian prelate emphasized that “the synod cannot remove pages from the Bible, the synod does not have that kind of authority, nor does the pope remotely want that.”
“There is bad press against the Holy Father that’s not fair and that has as its objective the same thing that they try to do in the world, which is class struggle. They want to divide us Catholics from the pope and the pope from Catholics,” he warned.
The beauty of the Church
Regarding the topics discussed at the synod, the archbishop noted that many of these “have their origin in the desire for the Church to wake up a little more, for Catholics to not only discover the beauty of the Gospel, but the beauty of participating in the Church.”
That is why, he continued, “the three big blocks of questions are called communion, participation, and mission, but there are also other questions that, to be honest, it seems to me that the pope wants us to put before our eyes, and they are those that sometimes come from certain groups, groups that sometimes shed light on themselves that they would not like to have, but that they themselves are responsible for projecting on themselves, to vindicate themselves for one thing or another.”
“These issues, of course, the synod is facing with respect, with a lot of dignity and a lot of charity,” he stressed.
Regarding his personal experience at the synod, the archbishop told ACI Prensa that the first thing he has experienced is “admiration for what is always seen at synods. This is, thanks be to God, the second one I am able to attend. The first was on the word of God. I remember that also on that occasion what surprised me most was seeing the universality of the Church, seeing the bishops from all over the world.”
A second aspect he noticed is that “the Holy Spirit is really working. Incredibly there is agreement on some things that we would not have been able to agree on from our countries of origin, considering that many of us did not even know each other. And we have very great agreement in terms of emphasis, what to insist on, suggestions. Very interesting things have come out.”
What can the Church expect from the Synod of Synodality?
When asked what the Church can expect from the Synod on Synodality, Gómez responded: “What I think we can expect from the synod is that it puts us all to work on the same task.”
“We have been seeing for many years an enormous mass of Catholics who don’t seem to be interested in the very life of the Church, for a long time thinking that the Church must be done by priests” and priests need to address that, the archbishop continued.
The Colombian prelate finally remarked that “the time has arrived when we all have to ask ourselves ‘What is up to me to do?’, and I believe that that is synodality.”
Gómez was born April 24, 1961. He was ordained a priest on Feb. 2, 1987.
He has been the director of the Department of Catechesis and Biblical Pastoral Ministry of the Standing Secretariat of the Colombian Bishops and professor of sacred Scripture at St. Joseph Major Seminary in Bogotá.
In November 2004 he was appointed bishop of Lebanon-Honda and was consecrated a bishop on Feb. 5, 2005. In February 2015 he was appointed bishop of Facatativá, where he served until April 2021, when he was named archbishop of Manizales, his current position.
This story was first published by ACI Prensa, CNA’s Spanish-language news partner. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.