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Holy See

Synod2018: Polish Bishop Urges Shift from Language of Sociology to Language of Church

In the discussion about youth in the Church, we must pass from the language of sociology, which uses the term “group,” to the language of the Church, where we talk about community. This is a fundamental difference, said the Synod Father, Bishop Marian Florczyk. In this way, he alluded to the words used during the synod by Pope Francis to underscore that faith is not a sociological fact, but a relationship with Jesus.

In his homily at Santa Marta, on October 5,  2018, Pope Francis warned that the Gospel must not be reduced to social and sociological facts, because that would impede us from living in a personal relationship with Jesus. Bishop Marian Florczyk, who is one of the Synod Fathers of the ongoing Synod of Bishops on Youth, evoking to these words, spoke about the vocabulary used in the discussion of the “Instrumentum Laboris,” which includes the results of sociological research The Bishop drew attention to the fact that, when talking about the young people in the Church, theological language should also be used. In this context, he emphasized

the word “community”.

“In sociological language, we use the word “group”, and this is correct in that context. However, it should be noted that one group may be opposed to another with different interests and goals. Therefore, the young described as a “group” can easily be opposed to another group. Consequently, the vocabulary used in the Church’s document is important. In theological language, we use the word “community,” which

accurately reflects the Greek word “ecclesia,” said Bishop Florczyk, also pointing out the differences between a community and a group. “A community is formed of personal relations, based on values. A group may be a gathering of people, which is not necessarily based on values,” he said.

Emphasizing the meaning of the word “community,” Bishop Florczyk also pointed to the need to keep our eyes fixed on the person of Christ, in order to build mutual relationships based on him. “There is no better builder, there is no better architect for the edification of a community than Jesus Christ. He lays the foundations and he is what binds the community,” said the Synod father.

Bishop Marian Florczyk, age 64, is a Doctor in Social Sciences, Auxiliary Bishop of the Kielce diocese and Delegate of the Polish Bishops’ Conference for Athletes. Bishop Florczyk was appointed Synod Father of the XV Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops by Pope Francis.

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