Synod on Synodality Updates

April 12, 2024

April 12

Father Thomas Reese, SJ, former editor of America magazine, wrote an article in late March on Pope Francis’ insistence that the main focus of this Synod is synodality, rather than specific controversial issues.
Access the article here

April 5

From April 28 to May 2, 2024 parish priests, selected by Bishops’ Conferences and Oriental Catholic Churches from around the world, will meet in Rome.
The intent of the meeting is to listen to parish priests, to underline the value of their experience in their local churches and to provide an opportunity for them to experience synodality at a universal level. Participants in this international meeting were chosen from a variety of pastoral contexts, largely because of significant parish involvement in the perspective of a synodal Church.

March 22

Pope Francis has announced that the October 2024 assembly of the Synod will focus on “How to be a Synodal Church in mission.

The pope has also set up ten study groups to examine ten topics that were prominent during the October 2023 session of the Synod. The work of these groups is not expected to be completed until mid- 2025, but there will be a report given at the October 2024 session on their progress to date. This article will give you a sense of the areas being studied by these groups.

El papa Francisco ha anunciado que la asamblea del Sínodo de octubre de 2024 se centrará en “Cómo ser una Iglesia sinodal en misión.”

El Papa también ha creado diez grupos de estudio para examinar diez temas que ocuparon un lugar destacado durante la sesión del Sínodo de octubre de 2023. Se espera que el trabajo de estos grupos no concluya hasta mediados de 2025, pero en la sesión de octubre de 2024 se presentará un informe sobre los progresos realizados hasta la fecha.

March 15

The synthesis report from the October 2023 session of the Synod stated that “a profound conversion is needed to meet the desire to promote a Church in which men and women dialogue together … without subordination, exclusion and competition.” 

In an article in Global Sisters Report of February 26, 2024, five panelists speak of the need for this spiritual conversion.

Read the article here

March 8

On February 17 2024 the Vatican announced that Pope Francis has launched synodal study groups to analyzekey issues in preparation for the October 2024 session of the Synod.
The synthesis report from the October 2023 session listed 75 different matters which were not able to be addressed at that time. Among these were priestly celibacy and women’s access to the diaconate. The General Secretariat of the Synod will coordinate the work of these study groups and experts from around the world will be involved.

Six new consultors to the General Secretariat have also been appointed, three of whom are female professors:

  • Dr. Tricia Bruce, a sociology professor at Maryville College in Tennessee, USA
  • Dr. Maria Clare Lucchetti Bingemer, a theology professor at the Pontifical Catholic University in Rio de Janeiro
  • Dr. Birgit Weiler, a Medical Missionary Sister and theology professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru

El 17 de febrero de 2024, el Vaticano anunció que el Papa Francisco ha puesto en marcha grupos de estudio sinodales para analizar cuestiones clave en preparación de la sesión del Sínodo de octubre de 2024.
El informe de síntesis de la sesión de octubre de 2023 enumeraba 75 asuntos diferentes que no pudieron abordarse entonces. Entre ellos figuraban el celibato sacerdotal y el acceso de las mujeres al diaconado. La Secretaría General del Sínodo coordinará los trabajos de estos grupos de estudio y en ellos participarán expertos de todo el mundo.

También se han nombrado seis nuevos consultores de la Secretaría General, tres de los cuales son profesoras:

Dra. Tricia Bruce, profesora de sociología en el Maryville College de Tennessee, EE.UU.
Dra. Maria Clare Lucchetti Bingemer, profesora de teología en la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Río de Janeiro
Dra. Birgit Weiler, Hermana Médico Misionera y profesora de teología en la Pontificia Universidad Católica de Perú

March 1

This link will bring you to an article from inside the Vatican’s Synod office, featuring Sister Nathalie Becquart, undersecretary of the Synod, published in February in Global Sisters Report.   

February 23

Australasian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (ACCCR), established in 2012, is a network of nineteen diverse groups in Australia and New Zealand, united under the call for renewal in the Church. Its stated role is to foster collaboration and support among member groups and to disseminate messages of hope and opportunity. These groups have been meeting over many issues in the Church, and since Pope Francis’ call of the Synod, they have made this a particular focus for their work.

The Introduction to ACCCR’s submission to the Synod in August of 2022 states: The coalition is guided by Vatican 11 and the leadership of Pope Francis, with a strong commitment to co-responsibility for the Church’s mission among all Catholics.

February 16

The following is a segment of a lengthy article by James Hanvery, SJ, exploring Pope Francis’ theology:

It is clear that so much of the papacy of Francis has been about opening up spaces of dialogue with the world and with other religions. Indeed, part of the whole process of synodality has been opening up spaces within the Church as well. Dialogue is not only the necessary prerequisite for understanding, but it is also integral to reconciliation. It is notable, that not only has Pope Francis carried on the facilitation of dialogue between religions and between nations, especially where there is tension and conflict but he has expanded and encouraged dialogue within  the Church.

El siguiente es un segmento de un extenso artículo de James Hanvery, SJ, que explora la teología del Papa Francisco:

Está claro que gran parte del papado de Francisco ha consistido en abrir espacios de diálogo con el mundo y con otras religiones. De hecho, parte de todo el proceso sinodal ha consistido en abrir espacios también dentro de la Iglesia. El diálogo no sólo es el requisito previo necesario para el entendimiento, sino que también forma parte integrante de la reconciliación. Es notable que el Papa Francisco no sólo haya facilitado el diálogo entre religiones y entre naciones, especialmente allí donde hay tensiones y conflictos, sino que haya ampliado y fomentado el diálogo dentro de la Iglesia.

February 9

From April 28 to May 2 there will be a listening session for parish priests in Rome. The 300 priests who will attend will be chosen by their local Bishop’s conferences. This is another step in preparation for the October 2024 session of the Synod. This item from NCR gives more information:

February 2

The January 26 issue of the Synodal Times had the following item – an interview with Sister Mary T. Barron, President of UISG. The interview focused on the joint meeting organized in Rome by the Executive Councils of UISG and USG in late November 2023. Read the interview here

January 26

Read this article by Kimberley Hetherington in Global Sisters Report , November 9, 2023, where religious share how synodality shapes their decisions, their way of life and how their experience can help the wider church.

January 19

Read this item dated December 13 on the Synod on Synodality is taken from The Synodal Times. 

January 12

The following articles may be helpful for better understanding and fuller absorption of some of the insights from the October 2023 session of the Synod.

Religious share how synodality shapes their decisions, common life — and can help the wider church

Synod small-table discussions put all on equal footing, UISG members say

December 22, 2023

This press release, dated December 13 giving guidelines for preparing for the October 2024 session of the Synod on Synodality. The actual document can be read here

Este comunicado de prensa, fechado el 13 de diciembre, ofrece orientaciones para preparar la sesión de octubre de 2024 del Sínodo sobre la Sinodalidad. El documento propiamente dicho puede leerse aquí

December 15

The presence of 54 women at the Synod in October was not only historic; it also brought about a new energy for lifting up women and other excluded populations in our Church.

There were proposals in the Synod synthesis to advance women’s role and ministry in the Church, but the energy and hunger for women’s leadership, ministry and decision-making authority that was so evident in the preparatory documentation seems to have been muted. A new sign of hope came when Pope Francis met recently with his Council of Cardinals.  For further information, click on the following links:

Last week a webinar – the first of two sessions – featuring the UISG delegates at the October session of the Synod sharing their synodal experiences was held.

December 8

Cardinal Robert McElroy address to the Religious Formation Conference in Chicago in November on the Synod can be accessed here.

December 1

The following articles from The National Catholic Reporter may be helpful in our further reflection on the October 2023 session of the Synod on Synodality and its synthesis document:

Thomas Reese, a Jesuit and former editor of America magazine, 15 hidden gems in the synod on synodality report

Phyllis Zagano, a Catholic lay theologian,‘Excuse me, Your Eminence, she has not finished speaking’

November 24

View the multimedia version of the Letter from the October session of the Synod to the People of God

November 17

While Phase One of the Synod is over, we need to keep in mind Pope Francis’ call to the whole Church to continue on the synodal journey through prayer, listening to the Spirit and one another and consciously walking together as God’s family, missionary disciples on a shared journey. The Synod’s letter to the Church states that “the months leading up to the second session in October 2024 will allow everyone to concretely participate in the dynamism of missionary community indicated by the word Synod.” The following statement from the letter puts forward the hope and belief of the Synod: “It is precisely the path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium.”

Video “Tribute to the Women of the Synod”:

To get another look at sisters’ experience of the Synod click on the following:

November 10

The following links may be of interest as we look back on the October session of the Synod on Synodality and come to a clearer understanding of the synodal process:

“Tribute to the Women of the Synod” video with quotes and music: