A Journal for The Contemporary Church

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Together on the Way – Pope Francis and Synodality


Gerry O’Hanlon has named an important insight which is worthy of continuous ‘unpacking’ when he alerts us to the fact that Pope Francis is leading a quiet revolution in the Church by means
of a synodal approach. 1 In fact I am convinced that Francis’ methodology can only be understood through the lens of synodality and he is inviting us into a deeper understanding of all that this
implies. Francis has said ‘The path of synodality is the path that God expects from the Church in the third millennium,’ and ‘Synodality, as a constitutive dimension of the Church, offers us the
best interpretative framework for understanding her hierarchical ministry’.
2 Indeed I would argue that synodality is also the best interpretative framework for understanding Francis’ papacy. Furthermore, O’Hanlon presents us with a picture of a quiet, velvet revolution in the Church achieved through this approach, not in the short term but over time. Most  encouragingly, he recognises, for Francis, this ecclesial reform is always in function of mission
and has discernment of God’s will at its very core.