The Church's Radical Reform – Inclusion and Reconciliation: Voices from Africa
Professor Tina Beattie, founder of the international Catholic Women Speak network and executive member of the global Catholic Women's Council, has announced the launch of an international survey of Catholic women for Synod on Synodality. The online survey, released in six languages on International Women’s Day, is gathering feedback from Catholic women around the world. Visit Catholic Women Speak and the Catholic Women’s Council to find out more.
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Reluctance of some priests to take part and fear and mistrust among lay people are among challenges facing the synodal process
Reluctance of some Catholic priests to take part and fear and mistrust among lay people that their voices will not be heard are among challenges facing the synodal process, according to initial findings of the listening process. The Covid-19 pandemic has also made the process more difficult.
A further challenge has been to keep meetings spiritual so they do not turn into parliament-style debates.
A webinar with ACTA
Towards the end of 2021, the Core team of Root and Branch, the Trustees of ACTA and executive members of the National Justice and Peace Network agreed to collaborate in support of the synodal process in England and Wales. They would encourage their members to participate and contribute to any parish/diocesan event. Parishes across the nations of England and Wales are arranging opportunities for discussion and listening. These are likely to appeal principally to those who are active members of parishes and are extremely valuable. There is a need, however, for creating opportunities for those whose voices are unlikely to be heard – those who are no longer active members of a parish. Their views and ideas are critically important if the Catholic Church is to develop in the ways that Pope Francis has suggested. Such an event is being held in the Archdiocese of Cardiff which covers South East Wales and Herefordshire, on Tuesday 8th February 2022 starting at 7.00pm on Zoom. If you live in the area and want YOUR voice to be heard please register: Details from [email protected]
Women’s submissions to the synodal process must be made “as public as possible” in order to prevent any attempt to airbrush them out, theologian and broadcaster, Professor Tina Beattie has said. Speaking at “The Synodal Pathway: Good News for Catholic Women”, a webinar hosted by The Tablet, the retired Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Roehampton said making submissions public would ensure that “if our voices are airbrushed out, or if the things we say that they don't like are airbrushed out, we can say this is not discernment. It is censorship.” Read the report by Sarah Mac Donald.
As a young Catholic and a person of colour, William Gomes reflects on what it is like to be an openly professing Catholic in contemporary post-Christian secular Britain, and the challenges that arise from this for the Church that the synod on synodality needs to address.
Producers: Silvia Sacco and Jamie Weston.
What is a Synod?
This episode focuses on why a global synodal process is needed, what it might achieve and the opposition it is already facing. Among those interviewed for this episode are Sister Nathalie Becquart, from the synod office in Rome, Fr Hans Zollner, the Church's leading expert child protection, and Fr Jan Nowotnik, Director of Mission for the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales.
If the synodal process is done properly, women will be central to the journey and it will change the way parishes work, theologian Dr Claire Watkins has said. She was speaking at The Tablet’s inaugural Synod Watch webinar titled, A Synodal Church: The Journey Begins. Sarah Mac Donald was there. Keep an eye out for the next webinar in the series on our events page.
James Roberts reports on the week-long ecclesial assembly of more than 1,000 people in Mexico City and online, a response to the synodal path.
Diana Russell (Tablet letters, 13 November) asks: “How can we prevent bishops from sabotaging the whole synodal process?” “The answer in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh is that we can’t,” writes Group Captain Keith Parkes from Edinburgh. Lord Hylton of Hemington, Leicestershire, writes: “The three letters you published on 13 November on the subject of the synod process sound an important warning. Our calling is to rediscover the understanding of the pilgrim “People of God”, as expressed by the Second Vatican Council. This means that the baptised faithful all have contributions to make. The bishops have a duty to discern the sensus fidei, but not, as temporary office holders, to edit or manipulate it. The Holy Spirit should be allowed to breathe freely.”
It’s difficult to think of a time when it would be more problematic to hold the sort of synod the Pope seems to be hoping for, short of wartime. As this is a global synod for a catholic Church, in some places people will indeed be trying to do it in the midst of war, and we should remember them in our prayers. But even here, in affluent western Europe, the situation is not conducive to the careful, prayerful mutual listening that is supposed to be at the heart of the process. Kate Keefe believes the process feels too small and secret, and wants to change this.
The Archdiocese of Liverpool launched its pastoral plan on the first Sunday in Advent. Watch Archbishop Malcolm McMahon at the cathedral. The plan is the long-awaited result of the Liverpool synod. Read all about it here.
To understand Pope Francis – and the synodal process – we must see him through the lens of his Jesuit formation. This means, first of all, viewing Francis’s leadership in relation to the society’s use of consultative obedience. We also must know something about the Jesuit approach to community as unity amid polarity and diversity. By Matt Kappadakunnel.
What the dioceses are doing
England and Wales
ACTA, A Call to Action, exists to support respectful dialogue between the constituent parts of the Church. As an association it supports the call to synodality and is encourage all people to avail themselves of the opportunity to take part in the discernment process that runs from now to the end of Lent 2022. To support this process, ACTA has compiled a grid containing the most up-to-date information from each of the dioceses of England and Wales. ACTA has diocesan coordinators who are available to help anyone who wishes to contribute to the ongoing process. The link to the diocesan grid is available here.
Synod stories in The Tablet
Involve other churches in synodal process, says Vatican. The Vatican is calling on bishops across the world to involve Christian leaders from other churches in the synod process in a move that could turn it into the most significant ecumenical event of recent times. By Christopher Lamb. 9 November 2021.
The diocesan phase of the 2021-2023 synodal process has launched across the British Isles, reports Madoc Cairns. 9 November 2021.
The Vatican’s decision to extend the duration of the first phase of the synodal process has been welcomed, reports Sarah Mac Donald. 8 November 2021.