Pope: A Synod is not a survey

3 September 2019
Pope Francis receives bishops of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church in the Vatican. Vatican Media/Vatican News.


Pope Francis meets with bishops of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church and speaks about the role of the Holy Spirit in synodality.

Meeting with bishops of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, who are here in Rome for their Synod, Pope Francis referred to an article published this past weekend in “L’Osservatore Romano.” The Pope said he was not trying to “make publicity” for the Vatican newspaper, but that he liked the article which dealt with “the presence of the Holy Spirit in the synodal journey.”

What a Synod is not

Pope Francis said that today we are in danger of believing that “to make a synodal journey, or to have an attitude of synodality,” means taking a survey of opinions and then coming to some sort of agreement. “A synod is not a Parliament,” he said, “you must say things, discuss them as you normally do, but it is not a Parliament.”

Unlike politics, the Pope continued, a synod is not a series of agreements: “I give you this, you give me that.” It is not a question of conducting “sociological investigations” regarding what needs to change, and how to go about changing it.

What a Synod is

A Synod is only a Synod, said Pope Francis, if the Holy Spirit is present. “If the Holy Spirit is not present, there is no synodality,” he added. “Indeed, if there is no Church, there is no identity of the Church,” the Pope continued. “And what is the identity of the Church? Saint Pope Paul VI said it clearly: the vocation of the Church is to evangelise. Its identity is to evangelise.”

Pope Francis concluded by inviting the bishops of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church to enter their Synod together with the Holy Spirit, even if it means “fighting among yourselves!” In the end, however, it must be the Spirit that leads them. “This, he said, “is the way to proceed.”

With thanks to Vatican News, where this article originally appeared.


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