Topic of the week: Synod: the bishops keep control

November 10, 2021, The Tablet


Through our baptism, we all share in the Spirit’s gift of discernment. By calling for “a synodal Church”, Pope Francis allows another way of being Church, based on the teachings of Vatican II, to finally take shape. Yet the Bishops of England and Wales state, “Every member of the Church has the right to speak and the obligation to leave those entrusted with the work of discernment the freedom to do so.”

If bishops alone ever had the gift of discernment, which I dispute, then they have abrogated that “right” through their moral and theological failures in handling the sexual abuse crisis.

The call for bishops to be allowed to discern the way forward on their own is a power grab designed to strangle a synodal Church at its conception and thwart Francis’ intentions before they can breathe. The bishops know this and must be fought.

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Jessica C. Bell