01 November 2023, The Tablet

The Church begins to dream

The Synod

The Church begins to dream

The inclusion of women in the synodal process was groundbreaking
Photo: Alamy/Vatican Media


The Synod on Synodality has laid a foundation stone for a deep reform of how the Catholic Church carries out its mission and how it contains disagreements that threaten its unity

The document released at the conclusion of the first of the two-part climax to the Synod process points toward a profound shake-up of the Church. Its proposals include an expanded role for women in ministry, making lay involvement in decision-making mandatory, an overhaul of the seminary system, and a revision of the Church’s Code of Canon Law. On women deacons, the Synod agreed that this issue needs more discernment and asked that the findings of previous papal commissions on the issue be presented to the concluding assembly in October 2024.

It was never expected that this October’s synod would hone in on the most contested topics in the Church and make dramatic proposals. This was the first round of a synod double-header, which began at the local level two years ago. “Today, we do not see the full fruit of this process, but with farsightedness, we look to the horizon opening up before us,” Pope Francis said in his homily at the Mass in St Peter’s Basilica concluding the assembly.


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