Dialoguing with the most incoherent document ever sent out from Rome – Catholic World Report

Archbishop Jerome Lloyd OSJVPosted by

The Working Document for the Continental Stage (DCS) of the 2023 Synod on Synodality claims to be rooted in the ecclesiology of Vatican II. The evidence says otherwise.

Synod on Synodality logo / Courtesy USCCB

Shortly before his death two weeks ago, Cardinal George Pell wrote an essay lambasting what he described as “one of the most incoherent documents ever sent out from Rome.”

Noted researcher and professor of sociology Mark Regnerus recently shredded the methodology used in creating the document in question, saying it “reads like a wish list of frustrated reformists who have shifted the preferential option away from the poor and toward ‘the young’ and the culturally alienated…”

And in a November 2022 piece analyzing the same document, Fr. Raymond de Souza pointed out numerous concerns with both its content and its creators, highlighting “laziness,” the “conflating” of reports by supposed “experts,” and the “idiosyncratic use of Scripture.”

The Synodal context (and process) for a Synod on Synodality

The document is the Working Document for the Continental Stage (DCS) of the 2023 Synod on Synodality. The 45-page, 15,000+ word text, published October 28 of last year, is ostensibly a synthesis and/or summary of discussions with Catholics (laity, clergy, religious) who took part in first stage—named “listening and discernment”—of the Synod on Synodality, which will stretch into 2024. The DCS is the focal point of the second and current “continental” stage, which runs until the end of March 2023. In June 2023, the Synod’s “Instrumentum laboris” will be released; it is official working document (‘instrument’) for the General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will meet for nearly all of October 2023 (Oct 4-29), and then meet again in October 2024.

The DCS, in short, provides the content for the next two years of “synodal process.” It is difficult to overestimate the importance of “process” in the entire synodal, well, process. For example, the shorter 2021 Preparatory Document, which essentially established the guidelines for the DCS, explains:

The ability to imagine a different future for the Church and her institutions, in keeping with the mission she has received, depends largely on the decision to initiate processes of listening, dialogue, and community discernment, in which each and every person can participate and contribute.

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Dialoguing with the most incoherent document ever sent out from Rome – Catholic World Report

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