In their roughly 1,000-word letter, the Nordic bishops wrote: “The global synodal process has aroused great expectations. We all hope for a revitalization of Catholic life and of the Church’s mission. However, there is a risk that we, in so far as we stay enclosed within paradigms of process thinking and structural change, end up conceiving of the Church as a project, the object of our agency.”
They said that the image of the Church as the People of God on pilgrimage should be complemented by other images drawn from Catholic tradition, especially the Church as “a mystery of communion.”
“We find that Catholics who constitute and carry the life of our parishes and communities instinctively sense this sacramental mystery but are not necessarily the ones inclined to fill in questionnaires or participate in group discussions,” they wrote.
“Let us not forget, in the context of the synodal process, to attend carefully to their witness also.”
They went on: “Right now, when Europe, subject to deep divisions, is threatening to explode, we ascertain: we need a higher criterion of unity. Christ alone is our hope!”
“In his name, the Church is called to be ‘a lasting and sure seed of unity, hope and salvation for the whole human race’ (Lumen gentium, 9).”
“Only if the Church’s life ad intra [internally] is rooted in Christ, only if we live out of the fullness of his revelation, shall we measure up to this vocation. We can hardly expect a new fullness of Catholic vitality to follow from impoverishment of the content of our faith.”