The Synod Leaves Proposals and Challenges for the Church and Salesian Family

07 Nov 2018

(ANS – Vatican City – November 2)In this second part of the interview granted to ANS, Fr. Rossano Sala, SDB, special secretary for the Synod of Bishops on Youth, outlines several proposals of the Final Document and gives an overview of the participation and contribution of the Salesian Family.

What new contributions can we find in the Final Document? And especially, in the context of communication and social networks?

In the Final Document there are many things that are relaunched and many new proposals. The most important for me is at n. 161, which proposes that every ecclesial reality may welcome young people for a certain period and accompany them in view of discernment, guaranteeing: a joyful and sober fraternal life, a strong apostolic mission, and a proposal of solid spirituality. If we Salesians succeeded in taking seriously this initiative alone in every province, it would be something great, immense.

The theme of digital communication is considered by the Synod Fathers as one of the three crucial challenges, together with migrants and abuses (see nos. 21-24). Numbers 145-146 call for a renewed missionary impulse in this area. I would like to point out, in addition to the proposal to set up bodies for digital evangelization, the proposal to establish systems for certification of Catholic sites. This proposal addresses complaints of gigantic proportions, which concern a strong lack of ethics in the media. We are called to discern even better “why” and “how” to be present in digital media. [Ed. note: On this proposal, see reaction and some contextual material from veteran Catholic journalist Deacon Greg Kandra: https://www.patheos.com/blogs/deaconsbench/2018/10/is-the-vatican-getting-ready-to-censor-catholic-sites-online/.]

The Salesian Family participated widely in the Synod. What is “Salesian” in its conclusions?

The Salesian Family distinguished itself at the Synod by competence, passion, and sensitivity [simpatia]. Many themes of our spirituality came up on the daily agenda, and on three of them we collaborated directly in the work of drafting the Final Document. The whole Synod has much that is Salesian, and the Final Document reflects it in many ways. Substantially, for us spiritual sons of Don Bosco, this Synod represents almost a “General Chapter sui generis” made by the whole Church for the good of the young. I think that our next general chapter, which will take place in 2020, will have a lot of work in a certain sense already done by the ecclesial path or journey of these last years. In this way we will have the opportunity to deepen matters, not having to start from too far away.

What would Don Bosco say about this Synod?

Sunday, October 28, during the closing celebration in St. Peter’s Basilica, I looked at the statue of Don Bosco several times. I was moved various times thinking of him, of his immense efforts to be faithful to God, of his passion for all young people, of his boundless apostolic courage, his ability to involve many. I imagine that Don Bosco is happy with this Synod: happy because the Church has attested to having at heart the young, which was the driving force for his life and for the Salesian mission; happy because some of his spiritual children, in the name of all of them, contributed to all this.