Synod: Democracy is a “walk” done together

Synod means “walking together” In ancient Greece, as attested by Polybius in II sec. a. C., it is identified as an assembly of a public nature. Democracy is a “walk” done together. The word was then assumed into the theological and ecclesiastical vocabulary (for example, the “Synod of Bishops”) and was no longer used by secular society. And instead, synod — today more than ever — must return to also being a secular and civil word.

It is always more tiring to walk together. Our social and political life focuses on the viral ego proclaimed via bullhorn.

The synod speaks of power but offers in it a radically different approach. It consists of sums, multiplicity, of differences welcomed, of listening, of shared stretches of road and even at different paces, of pauses.

Pope Francis, in 2015, speaking in Havana recalled that one time he went to visit a very poor area in the Argentine capital. The parish priest presented to him a group of young people who were constructing some buildings:

“This one is an architect, he is Jewish, this one is a communist, this one is a practicing Catholic, this one…”. The Pope commented: “They were all different but they were all working together for the common good”.

This is synodality.

A warning for us all today.

Director of La Civiltà Cattolica @CivCatt, Consultor at Pontifical @VaticanCultura, Board of Directors @Georgetown University. Jesuit.

Director of La Civiltà Cattolica @CivCatt, Consultor at Pontifical @VaticanCultura, Board of Directors @Georgetown University. Jesuit.