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Australian student leaders ask synod to address doctrinal ‘ambiguity’

Cardinals wait for Pope Francis' arrival at a meeting during the synod (CNS)

Australia’s national organisation of Catholic students has asked the Youth Synod to address “ambiguity” over Church teaching on issues such as contraception and Communion for the remarried.

In an open letter signed by 217 young Catholics, the Australian Catholic Students Association (ACSA) say that they want to be formed by the Church. “But we can’t hope to take shape amidst confusion over issues such as contraception, sexuality, communion for divorcees and non-Catholics, married priests and female ordination.”

The ACSA members, including the presidents of six university Catholic societies, say that “senior prelates” are “purposefully employing ambiguous language” when talking about controversial matters, “even in the face of Christ’s teachings, the Church Fathers and the clear dogma of the Church”.

The students say that “rules” are part of a relationship with Jesus Christ, and that “When the Church eschews the truth for policy-speak, young people are left with only superficial banalities to express their beliefs. Deliberately unclear words are, ironically, relied on and repeated with rigidity.” This confusion, they say, is not what young people want “and needs to be addressed by the synod”.

The letter-writers also say they are praying for an increase in “pilgrimages, confession, devotions, adoration, sacred art, music and architecture”.

They also hope for an increase in Eucharistic Adoration and the Divine Office. Both, they say, are ways to make the Church more welcoming. By contrast, they say, a Mass designed to be “welcoming” could risk changing “a profound claim physically manifested in a glimpse of heaven” into “a weird claim which people struggle to take seriously”.

In a closing meditation on Mary, the letter-writers say that to “become flowers in the Paradise of God, like Mary”, they need to be “born again in Baptism, nurtured by the Sacraments and sheltered by the Truth in the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church”.