Tip Sheets

Synod on Synodality ‘much needed listening session’

Media Contact

Abby Kozlowski

This week, delegates of the Roman Catholic Church will gather in Rome for the “Synod on Synodality” initiated by Pope Francis in 2021.

Daniel Gallagher

Visiting scholar

Daniel Gallagher, a professor of practice in the classics department at Cornell University, who spent eight years at the Vatican translating the pope’s messages into Latin, says that the synod will provide an opportunity for delegates to discuss sensitive topics but is unlikely to lead to major changes.

Gallagher says:

“The current synod is unique both in structure and theme: it began at the grassroots level of individual parishes, it involves a wider range of delegates (many of whom are not bishops), and, rather than narrowly focusing on one topic, it is dedicated to the general theme of ‘synodality’ (a word derived from the Greek syn—i.e., ‘together’—and hodos—i.e., ‘road’ or ‘way’).

“Despite expectations that this synod will lead to major changes in church teaching or practice, its affects will likely be limited to fostering a more generous atmosphere of listening and a more concerted effort to provide pastoral care to the poor, the marginalized and the needy. Quite frankly, the synod will serve as a much needed listening session but will have little force as an action committee.”

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