How Do You Light a Candle? From the Council of Trent to the Synod of Synods

1. Council of Trent

"The candle is lit with a match. If anyone does not say that the candle is lit with a match, let him be anathema".

2. Vatican II

"As the Council Fathers explained at the Holy Council of Trent, a candle is lit only with a match, which is first lit near a source of heat called fire, which may be from a lighter or a cooker.

However, according to the customs of the local Churches, the candle may be lit directly with the lighter in contact with the wick, or with a piece of paper brought into contact with the fire, or with a gas lighter, or with a candle in contact with the other candle but which must first have been in contact with a flame, or, according to different local pastoral needs, with other lawful means which may be used for the above purpose.

3. Synod of Synods

We need to put ourselves in a perspective of listening to the Spirit and discernment to understand the meaning of kindling so that the kindler is a "we" and not an "I". I ask myself, "How do I light the candle?" - but should rather ask myself, "How do we light a candle?"

We need to manage it in a way that creates an inclusive 'we' that takes into account everyone's beliefs and includes everyone in a communal 'we' rather than an individual 'I'. For the 'we' can also be an exclusivist 'we' that does not include the totality of each and every individual. It is precisely then that we run the risk of not kindling. You think you have lit, but in reality you have put out.

Organisation of a three-day event to discuss the topic

3.1 First day: Preparatory meeting

Convene the lighting team (four Synod Fathers representing the seven language groups) to consider the opinion of the Pre-Synodal Committee on the Synodal Way (same four Fathers), after consideration by the Candle Lighting Council (same four Fathers), after consideration by the Permanent Council of Pyromaniacs (same four Fathers), after obtaining the agreement of three quarters of the Commission for the Participation of the Laity in the Lighting of Candles (same four Fathers), after consulting the Council for the Protection of Bees (same four Fathers), after obtaining the agreement of the supreme expert on liturgy, Mrs Martina Luther, owner of the pub Wild Boar, after obtaining the opinion of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, which is to judge whether candles could frighten minors so that the Commission could exercise its veto right.

3.2 Second day: Gathering of the Gathering

Three-day debate in language groups on 'Candles: possibilities, meaning and new limits'. Ursula von der Leyen and Greta Thunberg will speak. At the end, a fraternal agape in simplicity and joy with stale bread and Argentinian maté.

3.3 Third Day: Gathering after the Gathering of the Gathering

Day of Listening (in a circle, sitting on the floor and in plain clothes if possible), where enriching and profound testimonies will be heard:

- "But who said you need fire to light candles?"
- "Pope Francis teaches us to escape from the old habit of trying to light a candle with fire 'just because that's how it's always been done'."
- "Personally, I was edified by the contribution of the African language circle, which reminded us of something we too often take for granted, that it takes fire to light a candle!"
- "But you also have to remember that every time you light a candle, 25 houseflies die because of the resulting increase in global warming!"
- "Perhaps it would be more dynamic and appealing to have a bonfire first."
- "Millennial tradition testifies to divine action in the people and has 'the task of keeping the fire alive, not the candles'" (cf. Querida Amazonia 66).
- "You can only light the candle if you are aware that at this moment you are an all-encompassing 'we' of the whole".

In the spirit of ecumenism, the League of Pachamama Lovers is also invited to speak.

At this point, one might even try to light a candle. But a question arises from the community (the same four representatives): Aren't there also electric candles?

Indeed, times have changed so that today many candles are electric.

What is to be done so that there are no dividing fences between those who seek the light in different yet unified ways?

"Moreover," says the Synod's general rapporteur, Cardinal Hollerich, "the main reason why churches are emptying, young people are leaving, and atheism is spreading is that we still use old-fashioned and off-putting terms like "candle". For all these reasons, it is time for a change!"

A round of applause goes out from the four Synod Fathers, who immediately coin the new phrase "focus of the burning light". From today on there will no longer be candles, but focuses of burning light.

The Synod Fathers - surrounded by sawed-off shotguns and with a revolver to the back of their heads - enthusiastically agree.

3.4 Innovative conclusions

1) A focus of burning light should not be ignited from an individualistic perspective, but from an openness of heart to the other and to any "I" that meets my time and needs.

"What does that mean?" No one will ever know. "Are there examples?" The sawed-off shotguns are still loaded, so stop asking inappropriate questions.

2) There are no more candles, but focuses of burning light that look like candles. This is proof that the Church is always proclaiming the kerygma anew, that she is always reshaping her own identity in listening to people and in dialogue with them, so that more and more a necessary process of inculturation develops that does not despise the good that is already present in cultures, but takes it up and brings it to fullness in the light of the Gospel (cf. Querida Amazonia 66).

After: Come si accende una candela: dal Concilio di Trento ai sinodi parrocchiali di oggi. Ridiamo per non piangere
"As Holy Martin Buber used to say it is not the question of the relation I - Fire but rather the question of building my relationship with a match maker".
"As Holy Martin Buber used to say it is not the question of the relation I - Fire but rather the question of building my relationship with a match maker".

Restorationist Jimbo shares this
Sally Dorman
So here’s the Synod's infographic that sets it all out.
Restorationist Jimbo
"Take your candle your candle and go light the world! Take your candle and go make a difference!"
Seabass shares this