In 2001, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was a rapporteur for the summit of bishops at the Vatican — and he did not like what he saw.
The Catholic Church had adopted a top-to-bottom approach that stripped local churches of any decision-making power, and the synod of bishops was reduced to nothing more than a stamp of approval for prepackaged conclusions made in Rome.
When Bergoglio emerged as Pope Francis in the 2013 conclave, the synodal process was high on his list for reform.
"There was a cardinal who told us what should be discussed and what should not," Francis said about his experience at the 2001 general synod in an interview with the Argentine newspaper La Nation in 2014. "That will not happen now," he added.
On Oct. 9-10, Francis will inaugurate a three-year preparation process for the 2023 synod, which will focus on reforming the synodal process. The preparation process and the 2023 synod, with the theme "For a synodal church: Communion, participation and mission," have the potential to revolutionize the way decisions are made in the Catholic Church and promote a more decentralized structure of authority.
Hosffman Ospino interviews Rafael Luciani, one of the world's leading experts on the topic of synodality, about why some Catholics seem reluctant or unwilling to consider synodality as a way of being church.
The joyous strains of youthful voices singing some of the Catholic Church's most beautiful Masses, anthems and hymns were silenced over the past two years by the coronavirus pandemic.
But music fills the air once more as children return to school and prepare concerts in their local churches as well as festivals in cathedrals and basilicas at a dozen locations across the nation.
The hope and prayer of music lovers across the Catholic spectrum is that safety will be the new normal that lets singing surge.
This is especially true for students in grades 4-12 who are members of the century-old Pueri Cantores or "Little Singers," the Catholic Church's largest organization of youth choristers. They hail from Catholic and public schools and include home-schooled students, too.
NCR political columnist Michael Sean Winters reviews a new book by the minister counselor for economic affairs at the French embassy to the United States on the latent strengths of U.S. democracy.
ICYMI: Religious social justice groups play a vital role in helping workers to fight against wage theft, the failure to pay workers what they are legally due.
In a large slum just southwest of Lusaka, the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Family operate the Cheshire Divine Providence Home amid COVID-19 hardships, housing more than 20 elderly homeless people and 30 orphans. Read more at Global Sisters Report.