20 May 2022, The Tablet

The Church's Radical Reform – calm amid the storms

The Church's Radical Reform – calm amid the storms

Pope Francis greets Cardinal Mario Grech
CNS/Paul Haring

Cardinal Mario Grech is the man Pope Francis has placed in charge of the worldwide synod and in this episode. In the latest episode of his series, The Church’s Radical Reform, Christopher Lamb talks to him about the tensions that had been unleashed by the process.
The synod was never going to be plain sailing and disagreement among bishops about the direction of the Church has now spilt out into the open in ways not seen for centuries.
A German synodal process, which is focussing on Catholic sexual teaching, the use of power and the role of women, has been the target of heavy criticism by a number of bishops who believe it is on the path to schism. On the other hand, synod reflections in Catholic communities across the world have seen repeated calls for the Church to re-imagine its pastoral priorities and tackle these contested issues.
But the Maltese cardinal was remarkably calm and upbeat when we spoke. He sees the synod as offering a space for disagreements to be aired, where nothing is swept under the carpet and no one is excluded. The task of the Church, he stressed, is to listen to what the Holy Spirit is trying to say at this moment in history. “Nothing really worries me in so far that we respect the fundamental principles of the Catholic Church,” he tells me.
“Synodality offers that space where we can share our fears and our joys, our certainties and our doubts, our dreams. Obviously, there are dreams that can be realised, others that cannot. There are dreams that can be realised tomorrow, others need more time.” What really hurts him, however, is those who see this as simply a project of the Francis pontificate which can soon be forgotten. No, Cardinal Grech insists, the synod is “laying the foundations of the Church for tomorrow.”

“The Church’s Radical Reform” podcast is hosted by The Tablet’s Christopher Lamb and is supported by the Centre for Catholic Studies at the University of Durham. 

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