Monday, October 30, 2023

Synod of Synodality is Over - The Church Did not Implode

The Synod of Synodality is over and the Catholic Church did not implode. This might come as a surprise to some, who expected the synodal process to be a source of division and conflict within the Church. But the reality is that the synod was an opportunity for dialogue, discernment, and communion among the bishops and the faithful, guided by the Holy Spirit and the magisterium of Pope Francis.

The synod was not a parliament or a referendum, where different factions competed for power and influence. It was not a platform for advancing ideological agendas or personal opinions. It was not a mechanism for changing doctrine or discipline. It was a journey of listening and learning, of sharing and praying, of discerning and proposing. In fact, synods are not capable of formulating or changing anything in the Catholic Church. They are like a huge parish council meeting on a global level.  

The synod aimed to address the pastoral challenges and opportunities of the Church in the current historical and cultural context, with a special focus on synodality as a way of being and acting as the People of God. The synod explored how to foster a more participatory, co-responsible, and missionary Church, where everyone can contribute their gifts and talents to the service of the Gospel.

The synod also recognized the diversity and richness of the local Churches, as well as the need for communion and solidarity among them. The synod respected the principle of subsidiarity, which allows each local Church to address its own specific needs and contexts while maintaining unity with the universal Church. The synod also valued the principle of collegiality, which expresses the communion between the Pope and the bishops, as well as among the bishops themselves.

The synod was not a one-time event, but a process that will continue in the coming months and years. The final document of the synod, which summarizes the main insights and proposals that emerged from the consultation and discussion, will be presented to Pope Francis for his approval and possible publication. The Pope will also issue his own post-synodal apostolic exhortation, which will offer his guidance and direction for the implementation of the synodal outcomes. An Apostolic Exhortation is not binding nor has any power to change anything. 

The synod was a grace-filled experience for the Church, which renewed its commitment to follow Christ and to proclaim his Gospel to all people. The synod was also a sign of hope for the world, which witnessed the Church's willingness to listen, dialogue, and collaborate with all people of goodwill. The synod was not an end, but a beginning. The beginning of a new way of being Church, more synodal, more missionary, more faithful.

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