Cupich Claims Synod’s Egalitarian ‘Conversations in the Spirit’ Can ‘Revolutionize’ the Church

A leading U.S. cleric is proposing the “conversation in the Spirit” methodology employed at last October’s Synod on Synodality assembly as a model for reforming the Church, placing particular emphasis on the method’s egalitarian nature.

Speaking April 24 at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut, Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago said that the model for small-group discussions, which is marked by each participant taking a turn to speak while others listen, intervals of silence, and allowing for disagreement, is at the heart of Pope Francis’ call “to envision a renewal of the whole Church.”

“It is a new ‘model of the Church,’ which I believe has the promise of bringing about a renewal for how we make decisions in the Church and how we relate to one another at the universal, continental, national and local levels,” said Cardinal Cupich, referring to a term popularized by the American theologian Cardinal Avery Dulles, whose 1974 book on the subject laid out five models, or images, of the Church in post-conciliar theology.

“All of us, no matter our position in the Church, must proceed from a common understanding that ‘authority is multiple and mutually enhancing,’” said Cardinal Cupich, quoting from Dominican Father Timothy Radcliffe’s presentation during the pre-synod retreat, which served as the basis of the cardinal’s talk.

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