By Robin Gomes
The ‘Instrumentum Laboris’ or the working document of the upcoming Synod of Bishops on youth, scheduled from October 3-28 in the Vatican, has three main sections, namely, recognizing, interpreting and choosing with regard to vocation in life.
Presented at a press conference by Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, along with 3 other officials, the 67-page document is the fruit of a long preparatory phase which began with the announcement of the synod by Pope Francis on October 6, 2016.
The working document of the synod on the theme, “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment,” has been the result of consultation with the Synods of Eastern Catholic Churches, the bishops’ conferences worldwide, the Vatican dicasteries and the Roman Curia and the International Union Superiors General (UISG).
An important input has been from an online questionnaire to which over 100,000 youth responded. Other inputs came from the International Seminar on the Condition of Youth held in Rome in September 2017, and the March 2018 Pre-Synodal Meeting in Rome with 300 youth in which another 15,000 participated online.
Recognizing, interpreting, choosing
The first part of the “Instrumentum Laboris” – recognizing - is dedicated to a Church that listens and is open to the realities and numerous challenges that young people are faced with in today’s context. Many of these challenges, such as religious discrimination, racism, job insecurity, poverty, drug addiction, alcoholism, bullying, sexual exploitation, child pornography and corruption.., are generated by the “culture of waste” and by an improper use of new digital technologies that are so pervasive.
The second part – interpreting – deals with the theme of discernment of one’s vocation in the light of theological and biblical tradition.
The third part – choosing - indicates the paths of pastoral and missionary conversion, beginning with discernment as a Church that is going out.
The “Instrumentum Laboris” concludes with a note on holiness saying, “youth is a time for holiness” and young people are also called live the Beatitudes in daily life. Holiness should be proposed as a horizon accessible to all young people. “In fact,” the Synod working document says, “all saints passed through their youth and it would be good for today’s youth to show how saints lived in their youth.”