Catholic Corner
September 30, 2021

Synods aren’t new. In fact, they are ancient! We’ve been holding synods since the earliest centuries of the Church!! What is a Synod? It is convocation of the People of God by the authority of Church leadership. This has been done many times in the past.

Pope Francis is firmly committed to Vatican II and finds in the wake of the Council that synodality best allows for the shaping of the Church called forth by the Council.  In the announcing of this international Synod, the Church makes clear that this process is integral to the very nature of the Church. It’s who we are. It’s how we work out what it means to be Church, coming to understand more clearly what our mission is and how we will live that mission out in the world.

For this to truly occur though, each and every member of the People of God will play a crucial role, participating together in the process of the Synod. In the words of the documents of the Synod:

The objective of this Synodal Process is not to provide a temporary or one-time experience of synodality, but rather to provide an opportunity for the entire People of God to discern together how to move forward on the path towards being a more synodal Church in the long-term.

All the baptized are called to active participation in the life of the Church, as all are given the gift of the Holy Spirit in the waters of baptism. This means that the bishops and the Pope (the teaching authority) in consultation with all the baptized, the living voice of the People of God will seek to come to pastoral decisions affecting the very life of the Church.  The decisions of this Synod will reflect this living voice, journeying together. (adapted from Synodality in the Life and Mission of the Church (ITC, 2018) and Vademecum: For the Synod on Synodality)