Synod submission

This is the submission drafted by the Centre International Cardijn and sent to the Secretariat of the Synod on Synodality in preparation for the Second Assembly in October 2024.

Submission for the Second Assembly of the Synod on Synodality 2024


The First Assembly of the Synod on Synodality recognised that the lay faithful contribute in a vital way to advancing the Church’s mission by bringing the message of the Gospel into the ordinary situations of life, in families, among young people, in digital culture, the world of work and business, as well as the fields of politics, arts, culture, education, etc. (Synthesis Report §8b).

It recognised that Christians therefore have a duty to “commit themselves to active participation in building up the common good and defending the dignity of life, drawing inspiration from the Church’s social doctrine and working together in various ways, through engagement in civil society organizations, trade unions, popular movements, grassroots associations, in the field of politics, and so forth.” (Synthesis §4g).

It also noted that lay associations, ecclesial movements and new communities are “a precious sign of the maturation of the co-responsibility of all the baptised” (Synthesis §10c) and that there is also “a need to develop a more profound understanding” of how these associations and communities” can be better integrated into the Church’s work (Synthesis §10c).

We humbly endorse these statements and concerns.

In this light, we offer the following proposals to the Second Assembly:

1. Method: The process of ‘See Judge Act’ (SJA) allows an exchange about lived experiences and their reasons without dogmatic prejudices. The analysis of reality or ‘what is happening’ therefore comes at the beginning. At the same time, ‘judgement’ allows and guarantees an explicit reflection of values. It prevents simple actionism and allows a vision to be developed. In order to achieve this vision, goals and concrete steps are developed in ‘acting’.

    ‘SJA’ is a true-to-life process that allows people with different previous experiences to discover their vocation and their potential impact. At the same time, it is process-orientated and should always be carried out in the sense of ‘learning from each other’. The three-step process is not self-contained, but builds on one another as a principle of education and reflection. 

    Gaudium et Spes follows the SJA. John XXIII recognised it as a valid measure of Catholic social teaching. The final documents of CELAM in particular also used the three-step method (cf. Medellin 1986, Puebla 1979, Santo Domingo 1992), as did numerous other documents of the universal Church. 

    The Second Assembly of the Synod on Synodality 2024 should also emphasise the importance of this methodological approach, which is still revolutionary and magnificent today. It should call for the practice of the three steps in the global church and call for education and engagement with SJA.

    2. Representativity: As noted in a Contribution on Synodality 2023-24 signed by over 130 people from 36 countries, and individuals, including the Centre International Cardijn, there was little representation at the First Assembly of the international lay apostolic movements that work to promote the above vision of lay apostolate.

      The Second Assembly should ensure that the international lay apostolic movements, many of which have networks in close to or even more than 100 countries on every continent, are well represented at the Second Assembly and that they enjoy every opportunity to share their expertise and experience in the above fields.

      Felix Ollarves, Venezuela

      Ludovicus Mardiyono, Indonesia

      Geethani Peries, Sri Lanka/France

      Sarah Prenger, Germany

      Stefan Gigacz, Australia

      Centre International Cardijn

      11 April 2024

      50th anniversary of the death of Fr Carlos Mugica, chaplain to the Juventud Estudiante Católica (JEC), apostle of the social Gospel and practitioner of the See Judge Act, martyred for his commitment to the poor.