A commonly held fear about the synod process is that it will allow division and disagreement to veer out of control. Several bishops and priests don’t wish to engage with synodality as they worry it will disrupt the peace.
Is this fear justified? In this episode, I go inside a synod gathering in Sydney, Australia, where an explosive moment of disagreement almost derailed the whole process. Halfway through the Catholic Church in Australia’s plenary council assembly, a vote on the equal dignity of men and women in the Church failed to pass. There was a protest among some of the members and the threat of a walkout.
But then something remarkable took place. The gathering re-grouped, and a new motion on the role of women was formulated and later agreed upon. The moment of crisis became the turning point for renewal, and the plenary council ended up passing a series of motions that opens a new chapter for the Church in Australia.
This episode features interviews with several of those involved in the synod, including women leaders and Archbishop Mark Coleridge, who helped spearhead the process. The experience in Australia offers a valuable lesson for the rest of the Church: don’t be afraid.
Producers: Silvia Sacco