Synod of Encounter? Addressing Divisions in the Global Catholic Church

October 25, 2023

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The Catholic Church’s Synod on Synodality, a multi-year process of listening and dialogue that began in October 2021, centers on the themes of communion, participation, and mission. In convening the Synod, Pope Francis called on Catholics to practice the “art of encounter”—to engage differences constructively and to seek out common ground.

The Synod gathering in Rome this October has become the focus of intense global media attention. More than 300 delegates representing different currents within the Church are engaging in a month-long discussion of contentious questions ranging from secularization and internal governance to gender issues and the continuing sex abuse crisis.

The Berkley Forum asks: How deep are divisions in today’s global Catholic Church? Is the synodal process a constructive way to address them in practice? To what extent is Pope Francis’ call for a culture of encounter, within the Church and around the world, a key theme of his pontificate?

Editor's Note: This series is ongoing and will be updated as additional submissions are received.

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