Pope demonstrates synodality in meetings with priests


Grassroots synodality needs priests to inform it. Pope Francis knows this.

He wants more synodality in the universal church. He wants clericalism replaced with pastoral care and equality, a katholisch.de article says.

That has led the Pope to rethink his ways too.

Francis has decided not to admonish or exhort priests any more. Those aren’t synodal ways.

Pope demonstrates synodality

To enact the synodal reforms Francis himself has set in motion, he is modelling a new way of relating to priests.

It involves participation instead of exhortation, katholische.de says.

The news outlet reports that, since November, Francis has had regular meetings with the priests of his own diocese.

Last Friday, he spoke for two hours with about 100 priests in a basilica in central Rome.

The participants were “very satisfied” a priest later told the Vatican News portal.

Pope’s pastoral tips

During last Friday’s meeting, Francis gave the priests “useful advice” for pastoral care.

The priests say his attitude was “fatherly” and the atmosphere “cordial”. They discussed city centre parishes’ potential rather than problems.

“The mood of this meeting immediately turned into gratitude and prayer for the Pope” one priest says, adding that it was a great moment of community.

It was “a journey that we have travelled side by side. That gives us new impetus for our service not only to the Catholics of the historic centre, but to the whole world that we encounter here every day in the faces of tourists and pilgrims”.

Vatican demonstrates synodality

The quest for synodality is also influencing the way the Vatican listens to the world’s 400,000 priests.

To set the ball rolling, the synod secretariat recently invited over 200 priests from across the world to attend a Rome-based conference.

The conference aimed to discuss everyday pastoral life and to gather new ideas about synodality. The discussions would then be incorporated into the working paper for the Synod on Synodality in October.

The “Pastors for the Synod” initiative follows indications from last October’s first Synod on Synodality, the secretariat says.

Parish priests were not represented at that synod and their voices were needed “more clearly and more loudly”.

Global improvement

The priests said they were satisfied with the gathering, which included a meeting with the Pope.

Many said they felt privileged, encouraged in their parish life and that their outlook about being Catholic had been broadened.

Unity is the centrepiece of the synod, one commented. “We can’t move forward if we are divided.”

The greatest challenge will be to win the faithful over to the synodality project despite their initial reservations, another noted.

“This is what it means to be missionaries of synodality: sharing projects to build better communities” one priest said.

Another added that “a new way of being pastors that frees us from clericalisation” is necessary.


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News category: World.

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