By Charles Igwe
US Cardinal Joseph William Tobin, the Archbishop of Newark, stressed the importance of openness in the Catholic Church, stating that its true beauty shines when its doors are open to welcome people. He expressed hope that the Synod would further emphasize this principle.
Speaking at a press briefing about the Synod’s ongoing work, Cardinal Tobin described the theme of the second module as focusing on “A communion that radiates: How can we be more fully a sign and instrument of union with God and of the unity of all humanity?” He discussed the topics that small groups addressed during the General Assembly.
In these small working groups, participants deliberated on education, the environment, multiculturalism, and supporting marginalized communities and migrants. Dr. Paolo Ruffini, the president of the Commission for Information, highlighted the increased opportunities for participants to share their thoughts, especially in the small groups.
Cardinal Tobin and other participants emphasized the participatory nature of the Synod, emphasizing that the process begins from the grassroots level, involving the People of God and progressing upward.
The importance of listening to the cry of the poor was discussed, and participants noted that the Church should be open to all, particularly those who are marginalized. They shared stories of their experiences, which emphasized the significance of an open Church, especially in a world marked by exclusionary nationalism and xenophobia. The Church’s option is one of fraternity and synodality, where all are considered brothers and sisters.
Cardinal Tobin, reflecting on the diversity of his group, found it fascinating, as he has lived in multicultural environments and experienced diverse cultures throughout his life. He described this Synod as the most diverse in which he has participated.