back to top
Monday, June 17, 2024
13.8 C
Sydney

Synodal synthesis sent

Most read

Pope Francis attends a session of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican. Photo: CNS photo/Vatican Media
Pope Francis attends a session of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican. Photo: CNS photo/Vatican Media

The Catholic Church in Australia has given a ringing endorsement to the Church’s synodal transformation in its national synthesis for the 2023 Bishops Synod on Synodality, which has now been submitted to Rome.

The synthesis report, released on 16 August, reported “a general sense in the Synod submissions … of dioceses and people being committed to the synodal path”.

The themes of the synthesis report are similar to those proposed through the Plenary Council process, such as the desire for a welcoming and “listening” Church, more opportunities for lay leadership and formation, and outreach to those who have become “disconnected and alienated” from the Church.

- Advertisement -

It also stresses greater inclusion of those on the margins, including “Indigenous Australians, migrants and refugees, women, those of different sexual orientations, and the poor and vulnerable”.

“It is a major undertaking to honour all those voices and help present a cohesive picture of the presence – or the absence – of synodality, that process of ‘walking together’, in our Church.”

The Australian synthesis was produced by the National Centre for Pastoral Research (NCPR) and approved by the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference. “As we have learned through the Plenary Council process, Catholics have very different experiences, different hopes and different aspirations of and for the Church,” ACBC President Archbishop Timothy Costelloe SDB said.

“It is a major undertaking to honour all those voices and help present a cohesive picture of the presence – or the absence – of synodality, that process of ‘walking together’, in our Church.

Responses for the individual diocesan reports were received through an online portal that closed in February 2022, prior to the second assembly of the Plenary Council.

A mere 1,100 submissions were received, according to the National Centre for Pastoral Research’s March newsletter. The Australian synthesis report explains the small number of submissions as the product of “survey fatigue” or “consultation weariness”, because the Plenary Council and synodal processes were conducted simultaneously.

Attendees at the launch of the Sydney Archdiocesan synthesis discuss their hopes for a more synodal Church. Photo: Giovanni Portelli/The Catholic Weekly

The breakdown of individual diocesan participation statistics was not made public, but most dioceses included information in their individual syntheses. Capital cities had higher rates of submissions compared to regional dioceses, where barriers to engagement kept participation low.

Brisbane received 145 submissions, representing 370 people; Melbourne reported 86 individual and 53 group submissions, representing over 500 people; Sydney reported 12 group and 50 individual submissions, representing 156 people.

By comparison the Diocese of Broome reported four responses, plus 25 people attending group gatherings; Bathurst received 15, and Toowoomba received 23 responses, 11 of them from parishes.

Some dioceses did not record the number of responses received in their reports, including Bunbury, Cairns and Sandhurst dioceses.

“Their 10-person synodal commission held structured group discussions with clergy and lay leaders, resulting in 274 responses and a high level of youth participation.”

The Eastern Churches returned a mostly lacklustre response, with the Syro-Malabar Church a standout exception.

Their 10-person synodal commission held structured group discussions with clergy and lay leaders, resulting in 274 responses and a high level of youth participation.

The individual diocesan reports incorporated material from the Plenary Council processes and other synodal listening and consultation sessions to supplement the overall low number of online submissions.

The Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops will use the national synthesis reports to prepare an instrumentum laboris (working document) for the Synod on Synodality, to be held in October 2023.

Related Articles:

- Advertisement -
- Advertisement -