Synodality Itself Reaches a New Level of Scrutiny

Has the process been undermined with the publication of ‘Fiducia Supplicans’ and its subsequent clarification? Consider these 12 questions.

This year will mark the completion of the Synodal on Synodality for a synodal Church. The first of two planetary phases was held last October in Rome; the second will be held this October. American dioceses have been asked to conduct more synodal meetings in the coming months.

The synodal process may well be challenged by the publication late last year of Fiducia Supplicans, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith (DDF)’s Dec. 18 declaration on the blessings of “irregular and same-sex couples.” That such a major initiative was launched without any significant consultation may appear to undermine the spirit of synodality.

Synodality itself will thus be examined more carefully in the months ahead. On the eve of the October assembly, Pope Francis, acknowledging concerns about the process, conceded that “speaking of a ‘Synod on Synodality’ may seem something abstruse, self-referential, excessively technical.” Nevertheless, the Holy Father insisted that synodality was “constitutive” of the Church.

At the beginning of the 36-month synodal process, Pope Francis clarified that the Holy Spirit was “the protagonist of the synod,” stating bluntly that “if the Spirit is not present, there won’t be a synod.”

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