Panelists Sidestep Apostolic Tradition Question at Synod Press Briefing

Two Synod participants sidestepped a question about the importance of apostolic tradition and divine revelation during Monday’s Vatican press briefing, choosing instead to emphasize “synodality” and “listening.”

Fr. Vimal Tirimanna, a professor of moral theology from Sri Lanka, and Sr. Patricia Murray, IBVM, the executive secretary of the International Union of Superiors General, said in a press conference that divine revelation and apostolic tradition are present and taken into consideration when discussing issues facing the Church.

However, both Tirimanna and Murray added to their initial answers, saying that some issues—like the ordination of women or the blessing of same-sex couples—require a synodal mindset and lifestyle.

“Of course, different people have different issues,” Tirimanna said. “I can assure you, once the firm foundation of the synod life is laid, those things [particular political or controversial issues] can be built up on that.”

“In one sense, the most important thing is not to address whether women can be ordained, or that LGBTQ+ [individuals] should be accepted or gay marriage should be blessed,” he continued. “Not that they are not important, but if we are serious about the universal church, a church that is worldwide, we have to lay a firm foundation that includes everybody’s interest. So first we lay the foundation—the foundation of a synodal way and listening culture. Automatically, these issues are bound to come sooner, if not later.”

Sr. Murray also agreed that revelation and tradition make up the fundamental basis of discussion at the synod, but then added that it’s important to learn how to be “a synodal person.”

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