04 February 2022
Ad Limina

Bishops trace out some paths to stem the crisis of faith

Between December and January, four groups of bishops from Spain took turns in the Dicastery for the ad limina visit
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Aware of the loss of ground that their Church has been facing for several years now, the Spanish bishops outlined some of the strategies they are putting in place to stem the situation.

Starting over from the laity: One of the most important investments in this regard was undoubtedly the Congress of the Laity held in 2020 for which the entire Spanish Church was mobilized, eager to become all together "Prophets to heal people, heal bonds, build bridges." Since the congress was not meant to be an isolated event, but rather a stage in the journey of "a people of God going forth", the implementation phase began in the various dioceses, literally transforming them into a vast construction site. In fact, despite the limitations imposed by the pandemic, these last few months have seen a great flourishing of training initiatives and decisions aimed at enhancing the ministries of the laity.

Calling together associations: The bishops' praise of national and international lay associations (some of which were born in Spain itself) has been almost unanimous. Of course! Some of them are experiencing a decline in momentum, but on the whole, they were recognized for their valuable contribution in keeping the faith alive today in the Church in Spain. And in this context, ample space was reserved for the theme of confraternities, which have always been a characteristic element of the socio-cultural and religious landscape of the Iberian country. The Bishops wished to reiterate their apostolic value as authentic expressions of popular religiosity. While not denying some excesses and syncretism here and there, they regarded them as a resource to be promoted, valued and patiently accompanied in order to help them better define their Christian identity.

Reaching out to young people: Defying the uncertainties linked to the world health situation, the Spanish Church has gathered young people around the symbols of WYD in 2020, in a journey towards the next WYD 2023 to be held in nearby Lisbon. Likewise, she is preparing to host young people from all over Europe, as well as some representatives of young people from around the world for a large pilgrimage, a time of meeting, listening and prayer at the Shrine of Santiago de Compostela.

Recognizing the family as the subject of the Church's mission: In order to confront the systematic deinstitutionalization of marriage in Spain today, the pastors invoked the need for a catechumenal type of remote preparation for marriage, as well as the importance of caring for the accompaniment of young couples, especially during the first years of union, in order to avert the risk of rupture that many celebrated marriages run into. Accompanying the family in this way will enable the Church to avail itself of the unique and specific contribution of the missionary subject in its own right which is the family