Synod on Synodality organisers alleviate concerns

Synod on Synodality

Organisers of the Synod on Synodality scheduled for October in Rome have moved to ease concerns and reassure the faithful that this synod poses no threat despite being conducted behind closed doors.

“The way we will communicate the synod is very important for the discernment process of the entire church,” said Paolo Ruffini.

Ruffini heads the Vatican communications department and will conduct briefings on the event from October 4-29.

Despite its unassuming title, the Synod on Synodality marks the culmination of a three-year initiative by Pope Francis to engage the church at all levels.

This event has the potential to reshape the institution and establish a new governance system to address polarisation.

The success of this ambitious project relies on participants’ belief in it.

The Vatican’s Synod office has structured the event to promote healthy dialogue, including prayer, meditation, group retreats and small working groups guided by facilitators trained in synodality.

However, external perceptions remain beyond the Vatican’s control.

The Catholic Church is currently grappling with issues such as LGBTQ+ inclusion, women’s leadership roles and the accountability of bishops.

Anxiety surrounds how the synod will address these contentious topics, especially considering progressive stances taken by some local synodal expressions.

Synod not a television show

The Vatican Synod office maintains that speeches and conversations within the hall will remain confidential to encourage open dialogue.

Pope Francis stressed the need to preserve the “sacredness” of these discussions, emphasising that internal debates are typically not made public.

“We have to preserve the synodal environment,” Pope Francis said when answering questions by journalists on his return flight from Mongolia on Monday (Sept 4).

“This isn’t a television show where everything is on the table, no, it’s a religious moment, a religious exchange” the pontiff stated.

A synthesis document will be made public at the synod’s conclusion, but it won’t be the final report. Another synod meeting is scheduled for the autumn of 2024 to issue a final document.

Media coverage will play a pivotal role in conveying the communal effort of the synod. Ruffini assured that the opening Mass, the first general assembly meeting and the opening sessions of each module will be live-streamed.

Previous synods have faced criticism for their lack of transparency, leading to sensationalised coverage.

The Synod on Synodality aims to break this pattern by issuing daily briefings and providing detailed information about its proceedings, engaging rank-and-file Catholics in the process.


Religion News Service

Hawaii Catholic Herald


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