About his expectations for the Synod on Synodality, Pizzaballa said: “I am not expecting anything specific and precise. What we need to be helped — and everyone in their own context, in different contexts because the Church is plural — is … to have some criteria of the understanding of reality in order to understand how to deal with this reality. But the answer cannot be the same in the Middle East, in Italy, New York, and South Africa…” About his hope for the synod, the cardinal responded: “My hope is Jesus Christ and the risen Lord. All the other things come after.”
Cardinal Christophe Pierre, 77, apostolic nuncio to the United States
“The pope, when he launched the synod … made a beautiful homily — for me it’s the light: ‘walking together.’ Why do we need to walk together? Because we live in a world which is threatened by individualism, the fragmentation of society. We have to rediscover togetherness,” Pierre told a small group of journalists Sept. 29.
“And in order to work together in a divided world we need to adopt a new method,” he continued. “Synodality is a method of the Church. We are not here to invent a different Church. Some people are afraid of that — that’s why there is some skepticism, some opposition, some fear. Okay, I understand, you know, that in front of new things you may be afraid. But at the end of the process, we have to start, and this is why the pope wants it. He invites us to learn the way, in the Church, to work together, to dialogue, and to dialogue always in prayer, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, in order to discern what we have to do. This is what the synod is about. So I am not afraid, I am very happy. If the Church is not synodal, it will disappear.”
Cardinal Diego Rafael Padrón Sánchez, 84, archbishop emeritus of Cumaná, Venezuela
Padrón said he expects “a lot” from the Synod on Synodality, and the fact that laity will also participate in the October assembly, he added, “is a contribution that in history will mean a lot, because it will be a very great message for the population, society, and the entire world.”
Cardinal Stephen Brislin, 67, archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa
Brislin was asked to expand on a comment he made to Vatican News in July, when he said the fact that the consistory was scheduled to take place right before the synod was “a wonderful opportunity for the Church, as we embark and battle and struggle with quite a number of new issues that we haven’t really faced as Church before.”
Brislin said Sept. 28: “I think one of the biggest battles that we all face as a Church and as people who believe in God is the fact that so many people seem to be falling away from the Church, so many people seem to be losing their faith. And to me one of the biggest struggles is how do we actually reach out to people. Because we’re offering life to people, God is offering life to people through us. How can we convey that to people in ways in which they understand?”
Cardinal José Cobo Cano, 58, archbishop of Madrid, Spain
The synod “is a process that is guided by the Holy Spirit, but not remotely controlled, but counting on us. I think it is the image of a father who trusts his children, gives his trust to his children and his children grow up, and the father feels very happy because the children have taken up what the father has done for them,” Cobo said. The Holy Spirit “does not remotely control them,” but “accompanies them and guides them … that is the Spirit and that is what he is going to do in the synod, what he has done in the Church throughout its life. He is always accompanying. And when the Church wants to listen to him, he lets himself be heard.”
Almudena Martínez-Bordiú, Courtney Mares, and Colm Flynn contributed to this report.