La Croix International: The Spirit in the Assembly

The Spirit in the Assembly

Preparing for the Synod of Bishops’ gathering on synodality

By Austen Ivereigh | United States

The most far-reaching event in the Catholic Church in my lifetime officially gets its start next month.It is Pope Francis’s boldest move yet, the historic shake-up that a Church brought low by sex-abuse scandals badly needs, and potentially the most transformative moment in Catholicism since the Second Vatican Council, which it seeks to embed permanently into the life of the Church.The two-year “synod on synodality,” launched in Rome on October 9 and in dioceses worldwide a week later, is set to mark Christianity forever.Yet who knows it is even happening? A global process set to mobilize millions and transform the world’s oldest and largest institution has so far registered as no more than a blip on the Catholic radar.Bishops briefed by Rome’s synod secretariat back in May have been mostly quiet about it, hiding behind cautious communiqués buried on websites, awaiting details, fearful of unleashing forces and expectations beyond their command.So we begin with a paradox.


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  1. Joe O'Leary says:

    ‘The genius of the process’ seems to be something like the efficacity of the Law for Paul, to show up weakness and sin rather than to positively achieve salvation.

    The ‘process’ is alas no different from that of the last four synods, which already demonstrated the dysfunctional state of the church.

    Mary McAleese is right that synodality has to begin with the laity.

    And she chillingly points to how quickly the CDF crushed the German effort at a Synodal Path.

  2. Joe O'Leary says:

    Austen Ivereigh thinks that Damian Thompson and Mary McAleese can be compared as theological equals. I am surprised that Commonweal allows such a tendentious comment.

  3. Barry McGONIGLE says:

    Is there some defect with Damian Thompson‘s theological credentials which makes him unworthy to be compared with a Catholic laywoman of outstanding lived experience in the Catholic Church warts and all? She also has a wee bit of education!!

  4. Joe O'Leary says:

    I think of Damian as a fatuous Spectator journalist, a flibbertigibbet. But I see he does have a PhD in ‘sociology of religion’ from LSE.

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