Pope Francis this week pressed the fast-forward button on synodality in the Church, by dramatically shaking up the process for the next Synod of Bishops – on the subject of synodality itself.
This was originally scheduled as a three-week gathering of bishops in Rome in October next year. But Pope Francis has decreed that from October this year, for the first time, in every diocese around the world, bishop, priests and ordinary people must start a process of dialogue and consultation culminating in an international synod in Rome now planned in October 2023.
Pope Francis has consistently taught that “to walk together is the constitutive way of the Church; … the condition for following the Lord Jesus and being servants of life in this wounded time.” This new development is the latest in a series of steps by the Pope, but the most significant to date: “This marks a watershed in the Pope’s search for a more synodal Church, in which people, priests and bishops “walk together” in mission.” says the Tablet.
There is little doubt of the importance of this for the future of our church, with the Pope declaring: “The lived and enduring experience of synodality is, for the People of God, a source of the joy promised by Jesus, a catalyst of new life, the springboard for a new phase of missionary commitment.”
We look forward with interest to how this process will play out in our diocese.