“Obviously, as I have already hinted, this is a spiritual exercise, a spiritual experience. So I think one of the important dimensions of this process is that we kneel down and we open our ears to the Word of God,” he said. “Otherwise, I’m afraid that we will transform this profoundly ecclesial experience into a worldly experience, and this is not good.”
The theme of the 2023 Rome assembly is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.”
Grech explained that there are different kinds of “synods” in the Catholic Church.
“For example, Church councils are synods, and the Church councils brought about an evolution in doctrine, but if we say for example, diocesan synod, or a national synod, those are different experiences of a synodal Church,” he said.
He described the “Synodal Way” in Germany as a “synodal experience on a national level,” together with the Plenary Council in Australia and the national synods being prepared in Ireland and Italy.
“Synodality is considered an important dimension of the Church, and so every Church, even a local, a particular Church is encouraged to assume this synodal style. Yet every synod has its own level of importance,” he said.
Grech explained that his office at the Vatican was available to help and accompany Church leaders in different countries in their “synodal experience.”
Even the present Synod of Bishops, he said, “has no power to change any doctrine. The synod obviously can go more in depth, about the truth, our tenets of faith. But then as Episcopalis communio says, it’s up to the Holy Father to make the final decision. He is Peter for the Church. And we have this trust in him. Through the synod, bishops, Peter, listening to all the people of God, obviously, we’ll get more help, more assistance to help us to find truth.”
Grech was bishop of Gozo from 2005 until his appointment to the Synod of Bishops in 2020.
The Vatican has announced that Pope Francis will visit Malta on April 2-3, after his trip to the archipelago was postponed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Grech told CNA he was happy that the papal trip to his country would finally take place.
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“There’s still enthusiasm” about Pope Francis’ visit, he said, “and people are waiting to welcome the pope because not only culturally, but the roots of our nation are Christian, Catholic.”
“So we were we are blessed to have this confirmation from Peter with his visit. And I hope that the Holy Father will help us to encounter Jesus now, proclaiming the joy of the Gospel,” he said.