Is the Synod Building a Big Tent — or a House on Sand?

The Synod on Synodality has released a “working document” for the continental stage of the multiyear Church process. For the theme of the document, a synthesis of the texts produced at the regional stage, the synod organizers chose an image taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah: “Enlarge the space of your tent.”

The text goes on to interpret this verse as a guide for the Church “on its synodal journey.” Like the cloth of Isaiah’s tent, the Church is called “to stretch out … but also to move” as it journeys with the People of God. The pegs that ensure the tent’s hold, the fundamentals of faith, do not change, but “can be moved and planted in ever new ground, so that the tent can accompany the people as they walk through history.” Finally, like the ropes of a tent, the structures of the Church must be adjusted to prevent sagging, balancing “the different forces and tensions” within.

“Enlarging the tent requires welcoming others into it, making room for diversity,” reads the working document.

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