Cardinal Michael Czerny at the Extraordinary Assembly of CELAM, in Bogotà (Colombia) Cardinal Michael Czerny at the Extraordinary Assembly of CELAM, in Bogotà (Colombia) 

Card. Czerny to CELAM: synodality is the way for integral human development

Addressing participants in this weeks’ Extraordinary Assembly of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), the Canadian cardinal says that the current synodal process is a an important path to promoting integral human development for all and that, in this regard, the Latin American Church has offered “very useful insights”

By Lisa Zengarini


Synodality offers is a valid way forward to promote the God-given human dignity of all people Cardinal Michael Czerny told bishops of the  Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM) as they met this week Bogotà,  for an Extraordinary Assembly to evaluate the three-year renewal process embarked upon by the ecclesial body, representing the Churches of Latin America and the Caribbean. The meeting was heldin the Colombian capital from 11-14 July.

The Church's  commitment  to promoting  integral human development

"What we want for ourselves, we must logically promote for others" and , therefore, "all the People of God, the Bishops of the world, and the Holy Father with the Roman Curia are committed to promoting the integral human development” of those people to whom it is denied  “especially to the poor”, said the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development as he addressed some 40 bishops and archbishops, including presidents, secretaries and delegates of the 22 Episcopal Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean; directors of the Pastoral Centres, and Catholic aid agencies’ representatives. 

He recalled  that  Second Vatican Council decreed that the Church must focus  on the goal  of integral human development addressing  the concrete realities that hinder its achievement in our world.  "The joys and hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted”, are also the hopes and griefs  of the Church which wants to share  the Good News of salvation meant for every man,  he said .

Collaboration with CELAM

For his part the Canadian cardinal said he hopes and is confident that  the Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development and CELAM "will walk together in sydodality", remarking the positive experiences carried out over the past years in the region, including the establishment od regional  and thematic networks, meetings and seminars.

Useful insights on synodality from Latin America 

He further noted, in this regard, that Latin America, has offered  the Dicastery  “very useful insights” for its own synodal process, which will enable it  “to enter into this dynamic of mutual listening, accompaniment and mutual service”, following the model of Jesus and Pope Francis’ indications.

The Apostolic Constitution “Praedicate Evangelium”

In his address, Cardinal Czerny also referred to the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution “Praedicate Evangelium” reforming the Roman Curia which, he said , practically reaffirms the mandate  entrusted by the Lord to the People of God to announce the Gospel, urging us “to take care of our weaker  brothers and  sisters, of the sick and those who suffer”.


Monsignor Lucio Ruiz speaking at the Assembly
Monsignor Lucio Ruiz speaking at the Assembly

Monsignor Lucio Ruiz's  address to the assembly 

Speaking at the assembly was also Monsignor Lucio Ruiz, Secretary of the Vatican Dicastery for Communication, who insisted on the need persevere in finding new ways to evangelize  and to “adapt” to different and ever-changing social and cultural contexts.  This - he stressed - involves observing contemporary culture, being ’connected’ to contemporary men and women, and “wanting to communicate the Lord's  Message with their language in the places where they live”.

CELAM'S final message

At the closing of the Extraordinary Assembly on Friday, CELAM issued a Final Message to the People of God, reaffirming its  “commitment to serve the  Latin American and Caribbean Church“ by listening, changing its structures and dialoguing with the world.  

"We want to be a Church that boldly and creatively announces the Gospel of Life, especially in the most difficult and forgotten environments on our  continent", the Latin American bishops write .  "It is time enhance fraternal life and put an end to clericalism and any kind of abuse". They therefore highlight their desire to listen to and to create spaces and structures that encourage participation in the life of the Church, especially of women and young people. “We wish to encourage consultation and community discernment, opening ourselves more and more to the participation of the laity and its relevance in making decisions”, the message reads.

CELAM also reaffirms its commitment to be “a poor Church for the poor”, by “rethinking our lifestyle, our language and our ecclesial structures”.

Finally, the Latin American bishops pledge to promote a "culture of encounter ", and, therefore, a  Church capable to engage in  dialogue with everyone and to build an authentic 'brotherhood'.  


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15 July 2022, 15:05