01 November 2023, The Tablet

The secretive Synod

The Vatican and the Press

The secretive Synod

Pope Francis often praises the work of investigative reporters and he enjoys engaging with journalists. But has his reluctance to allow participants in the Synod to speak freely to the media backfired?

My introduction to what a synod is – or was – occurred in 1985 at the Extraordinary Synod convoked to celebrate and assess the legacy of the Vatican Council two decades after its official closing.

I had been to Rome before but never as a journalist and academic so the experience was as fresh as it was daunting. If I was Dante trying to make sense of this often unreal world, the storied Vaticanologist Peter Hebblethwaite was my Virgil. An astute observer of the intrigues and undercurrents of the Holy See, he initiated me into a new world of sources, networks, discourse and gesture. Alas, he also introduced me to carbonara, with devastating consequences for my waistline.


Get Instant Access

Continue Reading

Register for free to read this article in full

Subscribe for unlimited access

From just £30 quarterly

  Complete access to all Tablet website content including all premium content.
  The full weekly edition in print and digital including our 179 years archive.
  PDF version to view on iPad, iPhone or computer.

Already a subscriber? Login