Synods – bursting bubbles?

Chris Dyczek OFM

Using historical and contemporary examples, Chris Dyzcek OFM reflects on factors which will be key to the success of the Synod on Youth. The author is a committee member of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain.

This autumn sees Rome hosting a Synod on Youth. Current enthusiasm for better recourse to synod-style debate in the Catholic Church has many precedents. Involving a broader membership of faith communities seemed for a while in the 1970s to offer a genuine path to transformation. Ecumenical gatherings have become appreciative of ideas from the various denominations. Out of an underlying realism, this has included a new willingness to understand cultural mentalities that had previously been ignored.

As Franciscan lecturer Eric Doyle pointed out, a church without diversity is simply not Catholic. But he also pointed out that high-powered doctrinal statements have often been delivered from inside an imaginary bubble. Anyone engaging in ecumenical reflections, or seeking better dialogue with the young, has to step outside that bubble.

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