All too often, synodality is misconstrued to promote a democratic, egalitarian Church, in which every teaching and practice is considered up for debate, as if a majority of Rhineland bishops supporting the blessing of same-sex unions would somehow reveal the affirming voice of the Holy Spirit. Other ill-fated attempts at synodality push for secular notions of “inclusivity” and the modernization of Church teachings to fit comfortably within the zeitgeist.
Such projects are not simply contrary to the Church’s divine mission, but they also fall short of authentic synodality. It would be akin to the Head commanding the finger to not touch a hot stove, and the finger suggesting that the Head’s command is too judgmental about the stove’s temperature, before proceeding to touch it and suffering the burn anyway. Because the Church flows from her Divine Redeemer, Jesus Christ, all actions of the Church—including the motions of synodality—must necessarily proceed from and journey toward Christ’s revelation and its authentic transmission.
One of the more beautiful elements of authentic synodality is that it points to the Church’s mode-of-being. By this, I mean that synodality, properly understood, can actually help Catholics understand what the Church is, and how they participate in her sacred mission. The Church, though hierarchical, is not a mere top-down organization whereby the ecclesial elites issue commands, and the laity obey.
Continue reading at Crisis Magazine