Unity is Our Tomorrow

Republished letter to the Editor of the Penticton Herald – February 16, 2022

Dear Editor:

The need has become more urgent for all Christians, those little households of Gospel light scattered in our cities, to see themselves as partners in giving a witness to unity in the world.

The search for unity among Christians would give a tremendous witness and hope to all who are suffering the evils of divisions. Everywhere there are men and women worn out by all the confusion that is piled up within them.

At the Reformation, we all started fighting with one another. This led to 400 years of oppositional thinking. Every church developed its own way of being right, leading to a desert of non participation. Pope Francis is now calling Catholics to abandon old prejudices and give a soul to the construction of a united world; with everyone and for everyone.

This is the official logo for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Originally scheduled for 2022, the synod will take place in October 2023 to allow for broader consultation at the diocesan, national and regional levels. (CNS photo/courtesy Synod of Bishops)

Pope Francis has called on all Catholics, across the world to a period of listening and discernment. He has introduced the ancient Greek practice of synodal participation. He proposes this not just to address the present crisis we are dealing with but as a service to humanity; locked in paralyzed disagreements.

In our Penticton parishes, following five meetings, we already see an enthusiasm for this form of discernment. The word synod comes from ancient Greece and means “walking together’.

This is not so much to forge agreement as to recognize, honour and reconcile differences on a higher plane where the best of each can be retained. It is a process that allows differences to be expressed, heard, and left to mature in such a way that we can walk together without needing to destroy anyone.

The Pope wants us to know what the Holy Spirit is saying to us and to the world. This process will never end. It is so enlightening and humiliating to hear what parishioners have stored up in their hearts. We are particularly open to the voices of former churchgoers, other christians, non believers and people of other persuasions. The process needs patience and commitment, above all to one another. World unity is built not with the weapons of war but in the productive tension of walking together. It is urgent for us to be a fellowship rooted in the forgiveness of sins.

Fr. Harry Clarke


To find our more about the Synod and how the Catholic Parishes of Penticton are participating, check out our Synod page.