17 October 2018, The Tablet

On the road to Emmaus

The Synod in Rome

On the road to Emmaus

Youth delegates arrive for a session of the synod at the Vatican


During his first sit-down interview, at the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis made some remarks about synods which, at the time, were largely overlooked. “Synodality should be lived at various levels,” he told Antonio Spadaro SJ in August 2013, six months after election. “Maybe it is time to change the methods of the Synod of Bishops. Because it seems to me that the current method is not dynamic.” Five years on it is becoming clear that the Synod of Bishops has become one of the primary structures in Francis’ programme of church renewal.

When it comes to youth, which the current synod is focusing on, the Catholic Church could be described as the IBM of the religious world. In the early years of personal computing, lots of people bought IBM computers. They were solid, stable and did the job. Today, particularly in the West and in Latin America, many have switched to new, more nimble tech providers – just as many are switching from the Catholic Church to evangelical or charismatic Churches.

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