The “Synodality” Masquerade, by George Weigel

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Pope Francis is pictured as Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes, relator general of the synod, and Bishop Fabio Fabene, undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, talk at the start of the final session of the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon at the Vatican Oct. 26, 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) .

By George Weigel, Catholic World Report, Nov. 14, 2019

During the 2001 Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who’d suffered through a lot of synodal speechifying and small-group discussions over the years, made a trenchant observation: “Jesus Christ didn’t intend his Church to be governed by a committee.”


The mechanisms of consultation that exist in the Church — from parish councils through diocesan pastoral councils to the Synod of Bishops — exist to strengthen the governance of the Church by its pastors: priests in their parishes, bishops in their dioceses, the Bishop of Rome in terms of the universal Church. The Synods of 2014, 2015, 2018, and 2019, however, suggest that the committee model deplored by Cardinal George has morphed into something arguably even worse: the masquerade model, in which a “synodal process” of “walking together” …..

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