Expectations, Anxieties, and the Synod on Synodality, by Russell Shaw 

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Detail of a graphic from the Vatican's site for the 2021-2023 Synod. (Image: https://www.synod.va/)

By Russell Shaw, Catholic World Report, September 7, 2023

Russell Shaw was secretary for public affairs of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops/United States Catholic Conference from 1969 to 1987. He is the author of 20 books, including Nothing to Hide, American Church: The Remarkable Rise, Meteoric Fall, and Uncertain Future of Catholicism in America, Eight Popes and the Crisis of Modernity, and, most recently, The Life of Jesus Christ (Our Sunday Visitor, 2021).


At a minimum, doesn’t synodality require letting people say what they think rather than what someone else would like them to think?

With the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops soon to get underway, there’s a certain question that needs to be faced: Isn’t a Synod on Synodality—which is what this one is supposed to be—a rather embarrassingly self-regarding exercise for the Church at a time when world crises abound, from war in Ukraine to famine in Sub-Sahara Africa?

But a defender of the synod might call it unfair even to raise that question.  ….