Belgian bishop asks Synod for 'space and responsibility' to make decisions for diocese

This story appears in the Family Synod 2015 feature series. View the full series.

by Joshua J. McElwee

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Belgium's representative to the worldwide meeting of Catholic bishops on family life has asked that individual prelates be given the "space and responsibility" to respond to the pastoral needs of those in their care.

Bishop Johan Bonny, who heads the Antwerp diocese, makes his request in the text of his remarks to meeting, known as a Synod of Bishops.

Bonny made his Dutch-language remarks public. Blogger Mark de Vries has posted an English language translation here.

"It is important that the Synod give space and responsibility to the local bishops to formulate suitable answers to the pastoral questions of that part of the people of God which is entrusted to their pastoral care," Bonny states in the text.

"The individual bishops’ conferences have a special role in this," he continues. "The Synod not only deals with 'the family as Church,' but also with 'the Church as family.' Every family knows what it means to work on unity in diversity, with patience and creativity."

Each of the some 270 bishops attending the Synod is allowed one three-minute period to address the entire assembly.

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

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