The following is a transcript of a Raised Catholic podcast episode. To listen to the episode, click here.
Today is episode 149: Synod Update
Hi friends. As the members of the Synod on Synodality make their way home to all over the world and bring what they have experienced from part one of the Synod meeting back to their communities, the Church is kind of holding our collective breath wondering, did this meeting change anything? What will happen next? Will this Church of ours become a place that reflects Jesus where all people will feel welcomed and loved as Jesus loves us? Will we finally tackle the issues of clericalism and politicization and become a church where our clergy take seriously their role as servant shepherds? Will this happen in my lifetime or for my children or for my one-day grandchildren? And if it doesn’t, what exactly are we supposed to do now?
Well, the honest answer is, friends: who knows?
If you’re feeling frustration at the slowness of reform and of the continued critical rhetoric from some American Catholic media and even some priests and bishops of even having this Synod to begin with, or if you’re feeling unmoored at the real lack of pastoral direction and care that we are receiving as American Catholics these days, well friend, you’re not alone. There is some information coming out about the Synod, but as the details of their month-long conversation are not meant for the public just yet, this information is limited, and it begs interpretation. That interpretation might be different depending on who you ask. I’m going to link many articles and podcasts for you on this topic in the show notes and I would recommend checking all of that out for yourself. In the meantime, here’s what we do know.
After a month of prayer and meetings at the Vatican, the members of the Synod were instructed to go home and bring, not just information, but the synodal style of listening home with them. For the next eleven months, they are meant to take the model of the Synod process – equality among clerics and laypeople, time given to listening and prayer, and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, and put all of that into practice in their communities as they prepare to meet again at the Vatican in October of 2024. Now, will all of them do this? Who’s to say? Certainly, in this country, participation in the outreach portion of the Synod was spotty at best. Don’t believe me? Well, last year, did you hear about Pope Francis’ universal call for participation from all Catholics, whether church-going or not, from your area parish? Hmmm.
In the meantime, I find I’m working on entrusting this Church of ours not to the priests and bishops or even to Pope Francis but to the Holy Spirit who really is in charge. The hard part about that is that what God considers a ‘result’ tends to be different from my idea. God is busy working in individual hearts and minds and sometimes the arc of reform can be way longer than we would hope. Our God is totally okay with death that leads to resurrection, and maybe that’s what we are seeing for His Church today. But I’m praying for this Church, and I pray for you and for me and our dear ones too, that God will make a way for us all in all of this wilderness to live out our lives of faith in a way that is healthy, fruitful, and communal, and I’m praying for a church which in its operation and service really reflects the teachings of Jesus. As we celebrate the saints this week, I pray for their intercession in it all.
So, this week, friend, please do check out the show notes for lots of information on the Synod. Take the time to dig into the podcasts and articles there to give yourself a good sense of where we’re at, and then, let’s pray for where we are headed. By the time this group meets again in October of 2024, who knows what this country or church or world will even look like, God help us. But then, as now, we are in His hands, and He is good. Let’s trust in Him today.
Thanks so much for being with me today, friend. If you need me, you can find me on Instagram @kerrycampbellwrites, at Substack at kerrycampbellwrites.substack.com, or on my website at kerrycampbell.org. Thanks so much for rating, reviewing, subscribing and most importantly, sharing this podcast with a friend. That really makes a difference in growing our community, so thanks. If you’d like to support this podcast financially, there are a couple of ways for you to do that in the show notes, along with a ton of resources related to today’s episode, so do check all of that out, but before we go, let’s pray together.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, amen.
Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful and kindle in us the fire of your love. Send forth your spirit and we shall be created, and you shall renew the face of the Earth. Oh God who, by the light of the Holy Spirit, did instruct the hearts of the faithful, grant that by the same Holy Spirit we may be truly wise and ever enjoy His consolation through Christ our Lord, amen.
St. Francis and St. Clare who answered the call to rebuild the church, pray for us. We pray for all of this in the name of Jesus and wrapped in the mantle of our mother, Mary, amen.
Thanks so much for listening today, friend. Do check out those show notes, and I’ll see you next time.
As the Synod participants head home from their month-long meeting, I’ll offer a few thoughts on what’s next, but the real meat of this episode are in the articles and podcasts which are linked below. Check these out to learn more about the Synod for yourself.
If you’d like to connect with me, find me on Instagram, at my website, or on Substack. If you’d like to help support this podcast financially, there’s a way to do just that on my page at buymeacoffee.com! Thanks for sharing, subscribing, rating, and reviewing, as this helps our community to grow.
Thanks as always to my friend, Peter Vaughan-Vail, for providing the beautiful harp music you hear in this and every episode.
Here are some resources I hope will help you to engage with this week’s topic in a deeper way for yourself:
1. Article: Synod: Unpause, by Colleen Dulle at Go, Rebuild My House from Sacred Heart University
2. Official Synod 2021-2024 website from the Vatican
3. Summary of the Synod Synthesis Report from the Vatican
4. Article: What to Make of the Synthesis Report, from National Catholic Register
6. Synod Diary from America Media
7. Full text: Pope Francis’ homily closing the 2023 Synod
8. Chicago’s Cardinal Cupich on his experience of the Synod
9. Podcast: Synod on Synodality Debrief with Fr. James Martin, from Inside the Vatican
10. Podcast: Unpacking the Synod’s first letter to the people of God, from Inside the Vatican
11. On when Catholic doctrine can change, on the Jesuitical podcast