Patrick Fletcher, member of the writing group for the Continental phase of the Synod in North America Patrick Fletcher, member of the writing group for the Continental phase of the Synod in North America 

Patrick Fletcher: ‘It's moving to see love for the Church expressed’

Canadian theologian Patrick Fletcher reflects on continental stage of synodal process which he hopes will implement what Vatican II taught about the vocation of the baptized.

By Sr Bernadette M. Reis, fsp

Patrick Fletcher is married and the father of six children. He is also a theologian and the Senior Advisor for Theology and Social Doctrine for the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Although he was not actively involved in the local and national phases of the synodal process in Canada, he has been actively involved at the continental stage.

During the writing retreat currently taking place in Orlando, FL, Patrick spoke with Vatican News about his perspective as a theologian about the synodal process the Church is engaged in and his thoughts about the Continental Virtual Assemblies he participated in.

Synodal process and implications

“For me, the process of synodality is closely connected to the idea of co-responsibility. This is a theme that's been explored by some of the Popes over the last few years. And I think that a greater understanding of the vocation of the baptized is key to us becoming a more co-responsible Church where all the baptized can live and participate in the mission that they've received from Christ through their baptism."

Patrick Fletcher on enlarging the space of your tent
Patrick Fletcher on enlarging the space of your tent

How people can exercise baptismal dignity
in light of Vatican II

“They say it takes fifty years to implement a Council. I think that with Vatican II, we're only beginning to see the implementation of some of the Decrees, particularly Lumen Gentium, which so beautifully spoke of the vocation of the baptized, and the laity in particular.

“Looking at the Church today, the kind of things that Lumen Gentium spoke about for the laity are not fully being exercised in the Church today. I see a lot of room for a greater involvement in the Church's mission, particularly not just evangelization, but working in the world, bringing Christ's presence to the world, evangelizing the world from within. And so, I hope that that can be a fruit that can come from this synodal process."

Harmony of voices in Virtual Continental Assemblies

“I was able to participate in several of the assemblies, three, I believe. And it was quite moving to see the love for the Church that was expressed by the delegates who were there. Love for the Church, as well as a kind of harmony of the perspectives and voices that were coming forward, which was very good to see. It's always difficult to state that the Holy Spirit is or is not speaking, but I certainly was impressed by the unity of the voices that we heard.”

Listen to the entire interview with Patrick Fletcher

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15 February 2023, 10:51