Youngest cardinal: Group sharings ‘best’ part of Synod

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Tonga Bishop Soane Patita Paini Cardinal Mafi (Photo: Roy Lagarde)

VATICAN, Oct. 22, 2015– This year’s Synod of Bishops on the Family has almost become synonymous with controversy, but for one prelate, more than anything else, the gathering was a time for bishops to openly share not just the most pressing pastoral concerns in their areas but their personal sentiments.

“To me that was the best aspect, in a way, in the Synod, the coming together of bishops, hearing one another,” said Bishop of Tonga Soane Patita Paini Cardinal Mafi during today’s press briefing at the Holy See Press Office.

“To me, [in] my experience with these small group sharings, though we’re discussing something which was discussed last year, the family. The family is always there whatever generation [but] to me, there was something new: the depth of our sharing, I think that intimate sharing, that listening to one another,” explained Mafi, the youngest member of the College of Cardinals.

According to the prelate, who heads the Santa Paola Romana church, even the Synod delegates who may have semed to have “certain reservations about sharing” were all openly sharing their lives to their small groups.

‘Best part’ of the Synod

“Wow, there were some bishops that shared their anger but at the end, everybody feels freer,” added Mafi.

Mafi described the encounters saying, “We (bishops) were on another level. We just shared, not just on the doctrinal [aspects], but this part was just a sharing of our conviction, sharing our stance . To me that was the best and that was expressed. So to me, that was new, too.”

The prelate said he seems to see Pope Francis’ wisdom in having this type of small group discussion.

Family sharing

“Because that was the purpose I think of Pope Francis: [to] .multiply these small group discussion because new things would come – just like families, the families which is lacking these days,” Mafi added.

According to the 53-year old prelate, whenever mother, fathers, and their children have deeper interactions through frequent sharing as a family, “something new would come out.”

According to Conference of Catholic Bishops of India president and current Archbishop of Bombay Oswald Cardinal Gracias, the final draft of the Synod document is expected to be ready by Saturday, Oct. 25. (Nirva’ana Ella Delacruz / CBCP News)

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