Pope Francis’ call for a Synod on Synodality has produced a lot of talk about listening, i.e. synodal listening. But is anyone really listening? What does it mean to really listen? How can we open our eyes to see and ears to hear new things? How can we open our minds to consider new ideas and our hearts to empathize with the emotions of our conversation partners? How can we open our will to change our behavior based on what we understand?
Our intentional focus on welcoming and belonging is not about keeping things the way they are in a positive-maintaining-the-status-quo kind of way. We need to live deeply into questions that bring the state of things as they are into focus. Are we collectively prepared to come to terms with areas that we need to grow in?
Previously we saw how an annulment case is started and evidence is gathered. We also heard from some people about their own experience in this process. In concluding our series, I thought it would be helpful to hear from me, as a judge, how the case is deliberated and how anyone can come to a conclusion about something as important as the sacramental nature of a marriage.
Tom and Sharon Hegewald first walked down the aisle together in 1978 — as a groomsman and bridesmaid — at the wedding of Tom’s brother and Sharon’s girlfriend. Neither remembered each other until 22 years later when they met for the second time, on a date. Both had been married and divorced and took time getting to know each other before walking down the aisle as husband and wife on March 23, 2002 in a Christian church in Williamsburg.
Editor’s note: The Catholic Messenger begins a series on the Tribunal of the Diocese of Davenport. The following introduction provides a compelling explanation of the Tribunal, based on an interview with Father Paul Appel, the diocese’s judicial vicar.
In the first article from the Tribunal, we took a look at some prevailing trends in Chris¬tian marriage. Unfortunately, not every marriage succeeds. People seek divorce for innumerable rea¬sons, but before we look at some of these I would like to dispel some misguided notions about separation and divorce.
Editor’s note: The Catholic Messenger is publishing a series on the Tribunal of the Diocese of Davenport. This is the second article, based on an interview with Father Paul Appel, the diocese’s judicial vicar.
“Mission,” the third dimension, “is intended to enable the Church to better witness to the Gospel, especially with those who live on the spiritual, social, economic, political, geographical, and existential peripheries of the world,” Pope Francis said.
The Tribunal of the Diocese of Davenport exists to assist the bishop in deciding matters of law within the diocese. Canon 1420 §1 states: “Each diocesan bishop is bound to appoint a judicial vicar, or officialis, with ordinary power to judge, distinct from the vicar general.”
To welcome people and to make them feel as if they belong, “we need to get into the fielding position,” said John Cooper, pastoral associate and business manager at St. Anthony Parish-Davenport, as he crouched into position to demonstrate.
Catholics carrying banners, the Book of the Gospels and an icon of the most Holy Trinity led a procession into the Rogalski Center of St. Ambrose University for the Diocese of Davenport’s Synodal Summit on June 17.
Bishop Thomas Zinkula wondered why Pope Francis chose the feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary for a moment of prayer in support of the upcoming Synod of Bishops in Rome in October. “Probably because the meeting of Mary and Elizabeth had synodal dimensions,” he said in a homily during a diocesan Mass on the feast day (May 31) at St. Paul the Apostle Church.
In my last column I included several images of the Church. In particular, I honed in on an image of the Church emphasized at Vatican II: the people of God. This image suggests that the Church’s identity is communal. In this column I want to highlight another image, that of the tent.
A single Catholic in his 20s in our diocese whose frustration with his job has its roots in loneliness, reached out on social media asking for help. “I need community,” he later told his loved ones. Loneliness is part of the human condition but its pervasiveness in today’s culture compelled the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy to issue an advisory last month. “Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community” lays out the crisis and remedies...