· Vatican City ·

Observatory

Latin America, Susana
and the reform
of the Episcopal Council

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03 July 2021

Communion, collegiality, ecclesiality and synodality. These words encapsulate the meaning of the “synodal revolution” process which began in 2019 by the Latin American Bishops’ Council (CELAM) and which has today reached a crucial juncture. At the recent Assembly, the continent’s bishops approved the reform project. At the heart of this project is the establishment, on an experimental basis until ratification in 2023, of four pastoral centers - knowledge management, pastoral action and networks, formation (CEBITEPAL) and communication - with a presiding bishop and a council of lay, religious and religious consultants. The structures are led by lay people, including a woman from Uruguay, Susana Nuin Nuñez, a sociologist with a specialisation in intercultural communication and the social doctrine of the Church.  She is in charge of coordinating CEBITEPAL, CELAM’s training and study entity, and says, “It is a gesture of great trust on the part of the presidency and recognition for the work done in the 15 years I have been a consultant and director of two departments, the communication and social school”. At the end of her term of office, the scholar was called upon once again to be part of the restructuring process from the outset, a year and a half ago. Continuing, she says, “It is an honour for me to be able to serve a prophetic institution like CELAM, which has done so much for Latin America and can and must do so much more. An organism that is capable - and in this you can feel its latent prophecy - of drawing from tradition without remaining a prisoner, capable of renewing itself, of updating itself to respond to the People of God today”. In this scenario, the CEBITEPAL has a delicate and crucial task: to make the four guiding words - communion, collegiality, ecclesiality and synodality - of the reform real and operative. “How? In articulation with all the realities of CELAM. The CEBITEPAL does not want to be a “restraining corset”. Its dynamic, on the contrary, is that of incarnation, that is, theory and praxis. Theory and praxis that are a call to conversion, transformation and impact. At the moment, we are in a weaving phase: we are strengthening links with the various episcopal conferences, with universities and training and research bodies. Our intention is not to offer them a “product”  but to recognise what they are already doing and to strengthen it, from a continental perspective.

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On the subject of renewal, on 5 June the Coordinamento delle teologhe italiane [Coordination of Italian women theologians] renewed its board of directors: Lucia Vantini will chair the organisation until 2025, Donata Horak will be the secretary, and the councillors will be Alice Bianchi, Federica Cacciavillani (treasurer), Anna Carfora, Simona Segoloni (vice-president) and Rita Torti.

By Lucia Capuzzi
A Journalist at the Italian national newspaper “Avvenire”