Synodality Without Spirit

I was asked recently to read the North American “Final Document” for the “Synod on Synodality” and offer my opinion. I am the kind of theological nerd who loves papal encyclicals, but it was pure misery slogging through the “Final Document.” It’s not something written to inspire the hearts and minds of the faithful, but a bureaucratic product about “process.”

To say the document was “empty” would be an insult to emptiness. You open a box, find it empty, and that’s that. You haven’t wasted much time. With this document, you keep wondering, “When is it going to say something?” But it never does. It’s like being lured further into the desert by a mirage of water you never find.

Someone asked what I thought of the theology of the document. That’s like asking what I think of the current king of France. There is no “current king of France” and so, too, there is no theology in the “Final Document.” The Trinity never makes an appearance. The word “Christ” shows up a few times but never with any account of why He is important. And it’s difficult to judge the “theology” of a church document that lacks even a single reference to Scripture, tradition, or the Magisterium.

The authors say we should be “on mission,” but never clarify what the mission is for or what Christians have to offer that would make others want to be part of the Church – especially a Church that produces a document this vague and lifeless.

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