Br Mark O’Connor FMS – Soundings from Rome: The Pilgrim People of God navigate the journey

The third of four reports from the Vatican by Brother Mark O’Connor FMS, Vicar for Communications, Diocese of Parramatta and Pope Francis Fellow, Newman College, University of Melbourne.

Most of the international Cardinals have now departed Rome, after last week’s fascinating Consistory. Some further analyses on the significance of their meetings are well worth your reading.

See: Christopher Lamb 

and Austen Ivereigh

But where to now? What possible issues should concern the pilgrim people of God, as we navigate the next stage of the path of Synodality, through the next stage of continental meetings leading to the October 2023 Global Synod? See especially for much enlightenment about the whole process:


Certainly, Pope Francis’ Synod on Synodality, which will take place in October 2023, is not without risk! It may succeed in bringing greater unity to the church, or it could result in greater conflict and division!

And yet Francis has consistently encouraged the members of such synods to “speak boldly” and not worry about how people reacted to their words. It is hard to overestimate how extraordinary this is.

In recent past, papacies it was ‘progressives’ who were thought of as not loyal enough to the Pope. All this changed under Francis. Suddenly, ‘conservatives’ saw a papacy doing things they did not like, even saying they considered Pope Francis as ‘unorthodox’. Ironically, those who had prided themselves on loyalty to the papacy suddenly began attacking it. They proved loyal only when the papacy agreed with them. ‘Cafeteria’ Catholicism indeed…

Amidst all this tension, Francis simply encourages us all to humbly participate in the experience of prayer, listening and discernment as a way forward for the people of God.

Tom Reese SJ, whilst hopeful about the synod, is also worried. He recently asked: Will the synodal process work? Will it help heal divisions in the church and foster a community that can spread the gospel, care for the marginalized and heal the Earth? Or will it blow up and show the world how divided we Catholics are?

Last week, in Rome, I put that very question to two authentic Gospel witnesses. Both are leaders, in their own ways, in the Synodal path.

Link to full article:

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