Method Matters

Three keys to Pope Francis’ approach to the synod

Method Matters

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On October 4 of this year, the Synod on the Family will enter its second phase. At this gathering, the bishops will continue to discuss many of the issues they brought up during last year’s synod. But the issues are not the only important aspects of the synod. The process is equally important. Pope Francis wants everyone in the Church to have a voice in these complex issues related to marriage and family.

To that end, he has urged everyone involved to follow a few simple ground rules. He wants everyone to approach this synod in a spirit of constructive collegiality—something that will guard against a spirit of division and inflexibility. Francis’ approach is very much like that of parents who could employ a hard-line, top-down, do-what-I-want philosophy with their children but who choose instead to create an atmosphere marked by open discussion and expression—as long as it is constructive, sincere, and aimed at building up the common good of everyone.

In this article, then, we want to spell out the ground rules that Pope Francis believes are invaluable to the synod process. We do this, first, to understand how the synod will function and, second, to help us identify how we can use a similar approach in our own families.

A Spirit…

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