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Recap of "Synodality and Listening Reports from the Field"

12/12/2022 10:51 AM | Anonymous

The CTSA hosted the virtual event Synodality and Listening Reports from the Field on Monday, December 5th.  Sixty-nine members attended the event.


  • Kristin Colberg, Associate Professor, St. John's School of Theology and Seminary; Member of the Theological Commission Assisting the Synod of Bishops

  • Stan Chu Ilo, Research Professor of World Christianity and African Studies; Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology, De Paul University; Heads the "Doing Theology from the Existential Peripheries Project"

  • Edmund Chia, Sr. Lecturer, co-Director of Interreligious, Australian Catholic University; Former Executive Secretary, Office of ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs; Federation of Asian Bishops Conference 

Moderator:  Elyse Raby, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Santa Clara University

Breakout Questions Directed to Attendees

What causes perplexity in your region? Or your local church, or classroom, on this,?  What do people need to know in order to become a more synodal church?

As Stan Chu Ilo framed his question, "How can the synodal process lead to local transformative praxes that avoid asymmetrical power relations? As theologians, what do we do with the stories we have heard?"

Questions to Panelists upon Return to Large Group

1.    Where do we go from here; and how do we start now?  How do we keep it local?

2.     How might the “listening energy” around interreligious dialogue and ecumenism help us with synodality? And vice versa — how might becoming a more synodal church help Catholics in interreligious dialogue and ecumenical conversations?         

3.     Is there any explanation for the particular resistance to the synodal process on the part of (certain sectors) of the U.S. Church?

4.     Do you see the Bishops/dioceses continuing with Synodal listening and discernment, or, are you concerned it’s been a “one and done” process?

5.     How will the dynamics of power (bishops) at the next level receive, effect, or maybe filter the strong gathering of voices that has occurred at this level?  What’s next, and what are the best ways we in our roles as teachers, pastors, CTSA can use our gifts to assure the furtherance of this synodal dynamic going forward?  (Esp. since in many of our dioceses the local bishops did not engage the first stages of the synodal process with much enthusiasm.

6.     How can the CTSA encourage its members to engage the synod process at the local level?

7.     How many dioceses in the US participated in the Synodal process in this first phase?  2) How will we know what effect hearing from ‘the peripheries” (LGBTQ, women, NONES, etc.). had on the bishops who are listening to them? Where is that being captured in the process? 3) It causes perplexity that one of the largest dioceses in the US (Detroit) did not participate (Archbishop Allen Vignoran, said “we had a diocesan synod in 2016)

8.     Most common perplexity: how can synodality unfold without dealing radically with the abuse and its cover up? Next common perplexity: similar concern for queer lives and relationships.

Chat Comments following Breakout Sessions

  • "The Spirit is out of the bottle; the conversation is not going back."  Where do we as theologians go from here?

  • How could religious be included in the synanodal process?

  • Are there other documents of collected voices from the margins? How do we access them?

  • Arch Vigneron in Detroit says that we had a synod in 2016 so there is no need to participate. Wonder what he would say to Francis when Francis asks about synodality in Detroit? Women religious, social justice groups, the two Jesuit parishes and a few others had listening groups and sent their reports to LCWR and Rome. But what a missed opportunity for the People of God here.

  • “Called to reimagine our ecclesiology” !

The event was coordinated by the
Ad hoc Board Committee on Virtual Events

Elyse Raby, Chair (2021 - 2023)

Christina Astorga (2022 - 2024)

Mary Kate Holman (2022 - 2025)

The Board of Directors offers its sincere appreciation to the presenters and to the Committee for their excellent presentation and development of the event 

The event was not recorded as recording permissions were not fully granted.

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