The Synod on Synodality
Pope Francis has made headlines with his intention to allow laypeople and women to vote in the Synod on Synodality.
A synod in the Catholic Church serves as an advisory council to the Pope on issues of importance to the Church, so that the Church may remain in unison on those issues. By the end of the Synod, bishops will have voted on several documents addressing those key issues, and the Pope can decide whether or not to adopt these documents officially for the Church. The faithful will need to conform to the teachings which Pope Francis decides to approve from the Synod.
The purpose of the Synod on Synodality is to determine ways in which the Church can better journey forward together as a unified whole, which is part of the reason why Pope Francis has allowed laypeople and women to vote in this Synod. While these people will be well educated in matters of the Church, they will also provide unique insight from the perspective of the laity as to how the Church can become more communal. The Synod addresses issues such as “conservative” and “liberal” divides within the Church, tensions surrounding the liturgy, and the LGBTQ community.
Traditionally, while lay people were previously allowed to participate in synods, they could not vote.
But because the Synod on Synodality particularly focuses on the Church moving forward in a unified manner, many believe that this change is important for the Synod so as to provide Pope Francis with documents supported not only by the bishops, but also lay people who make up the vast majority of the Church. Another way the synod is trying to understand the needs of lay people is through surveys which have been conducted and will continue to be conducted in dioceses throughout the world until the synod officially ends next year.
Pope Francis will have final approval of all lay people who will join the Synod, and ultimately he will have the final say on any documents which the Synod approves.
Grace Brady '23 is a Vol. 71 Managing Editor