Presentation of the Programme for the celebration of the upcoming Synod approved by Pope Francis during his audience with Cardinal Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, 24 April 2021.
For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission
XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops
1. “It is precisely this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium. What the Lord is asking of us is already in some sense present in the very word ‘synod.’ Journeying together — laity, pastors, the Bishop of Rome — is an easy concept to put into words, but not so easy to put into practice.” (Address of His Holiness, Pope Francis, Ceremony Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, 17 October 2015). For this reason, the theme of the next Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops is, For a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission.
2. Indeed, synodality refers to the very essence of the Church, her constitutive reality, and is thus oriented towards evangelization. It is an ecclesial way of being and a prophetic example for today's world. “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many are one body, so it is with Christ.” (1 Cor 12:12). In a similar way, Augustine speaks of the Whole Christ (cf. Sermon 341), head and members who form an indivisible and inseparable unity. Only in union with Christ the head, is it possible to understand the plurality of the members of the body, which enriches the Church, overcoming any temptation to uniformity. Since this is a unity in plurality in the power of the Spirit, the Church is called to open new paths whilst embarking on that same journey.
3. The Synod of Bishops is the dynamic point of convergence that calls for mutual listening to the Holy Spirit at every level of the Church's life (cf. Address of His Holiness, Pope Francis, Ceremony Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops, 17 October 2015). It is not just an event, but also a process that involves in synergy the People of God, the College of Bishops and the Bishop of Rome, each according to their proper function (cf. Address by Cardinal Mario Grech to the Holy Father in the Consistory for the creation of new cardinals, November 28, 2020).