SECOND ASSEMBLY SELF-SUMMONED LAY SYNOD
Concepciόn (Chile) January 4-5, 2020
I know the plans I have for you, plans for well-being and not for evil, in order to give you a full future of hope.
I, the Lord, affirm it (Jeremias 29:11).
A year ago, following the impulse of the Spirit, we began a self-summoned and self-managed lay synodal time which, at its First Assembly concluded, inter alia, that the existence of structures in which persists the poor exercise of power, because of its asymmetry in exercising it, generates abuses involving suffering to all of God’s people.
During 2019, we found that the abuse of power transcended the walls of the Church. It’s a normalized practice that transfers to the entire Chilean society, coming from political and economic structures that express an abusive system that opposes the dignity that everyone has for the fact, first, of being a person, and then because of his status as sons and daughters of God. The October 2019 social outburst made this clear.
Then we come to this Second Assembly with mixed feelings in these uncertain times; for one side, with insecurity, skepticism, outrage and discouragement; but on the other hand, with hope, optimism, enthusiasm, willingness and joy that the encounter with the synodal community and the action of the Ruaj (Holy Spirit) would allow us re-take strength, lose fear, discern how God acts in personal and national history, to commit ourselves with greater force and clarity in the construction, not only of a new Church, but also of a new Chile. If on that occasion we said that another Church is possible, today we say that another Chile is possible.
We have recognized Jesus in suffering faces that demand dignity and justice: retirees, women, children, immigrants, young people, LGBT people, precarious underemployed peoples, indigenous peoples who demand a system of efficient health, quality education, fair wages, a solidarity economy, equal rights, a system of participating democracy, in short, a system in which benefits reach all. We’ve seen precocious deaths, people mutilated in their eyes by the effects of an uncontrolled repression, exercised by military and carabinieri, bound by a system that sees social protest as a criminal act that must be repressed. We have thus seen the expression of institutionalized violence to which millions of voices demand to put an end to (Is. 9, 5-7).
We recognize in people, in their various expressions, true present and acting prophets between us: those who walk with joy and hope showing the solidarity of the Chilean people, the artists whose cultural actions show a humanizing art, women who, from poetry and dance, question and denounce oppressive machismo, young people who rebel against the system and who, from the front line, defend the right to demonstrate, those who raise first aid posts, and brothers and sisters in faith involved in the struggle for a more dignified and fairer society.
In the style of Jesus, we denounce that the root cause of the signs of death in the country is keeping a neoliberal system that generates the commercialization of political, social and economic rights, and which has been exercised with values that exacerbate individualism, utilitarianism and pragmatism. From the above, it has been generated a culture that presents characters of mistrust in social relations, disconnection between instances of leadership and the people, exclusion in decision-making, technifying education systems, harming the biodiversity, in short, the presence of an oppressive system, whose leadership stakes the power for personal profit or for small groups at the expense of majority spoliation (Matthew 23:4).
In the same spirit, we announce that a society of brothers is only possible if their structures and practices are based on an ethic focused on solidarity, mercy, justice and the consideration of all to the construction of the Common Good (Is. 54,14)
In this sense, assuming the ethics of Jesus (Mt 5:3-11), as A Lay Synod we commit ourselves to:
To contribute to the social and political world in:
a) Promoting the development of spaces for citizen participation based on the emergence of a new Constitution that promotes a decent life for every person.
b) Require effective protection of the common home, with special attention to water, seeds and forests, such as human rights.
c) Participate constructively in the different social and political organizations.
d) To denounce actions that violate the justice and dignity of people.
e) Demand justice and reparation for those who suffered violence, lost their lives and vision, due to violence from state agents.
To contribute to the ecclesial world in:
a) Empowering an autonomous lay network with visible and effective action that influences society and the church from the poor and excluded.
b) Create base communities, enhancing territorial networks and the national network with testimonial approach.
c) Demand justice and reparation for victims of all kinds of ecclesiastical abuse.
d) Demand transparency in the administration of the economics of the Church.
e) Develop lay spaces to share knowledge, according to the needs of each territory.
f) To demand the assumption of greater responsibilities of women in all ecclesial instances.
g) Promote the democratization of the election of Bishops. Accordingly, we strongly reject the appointment of Don Fernando Ramos Pérez as Archbishop of Puerto Montt, for mocking openly from the laity of Osorno, who requested the departure of Bishop Barros, demonstrating very little ability to listen and empathize with the laity and with survivors of sexual abuse. Therefore, we support and join the actions that will be taken by the lay communities of that territory, in the demand for a new designation and for it to be consulted beforehand with the People of God.
Finally, the National Network of Lay people reiterates its decision to be an instance that contributes with its word and their action in building a new Church and a new country, in which everyone is respected and can develop a dignified life in sorority and fraternity, participating in the great table of the Lord (John 10:10).
National Network of Lay Women and Men people of Chile
In Concepción, 5 January, on the eve of the Epiphany of the Lord.