All the nations will gather together and the peoples assemble (Isaiah 43:9).

Anne Lastman

In the history of salvation, God saved a people. No one is saved alone, as an elite and isolated individual but God attracts us by looking at the complex web of relationships which take place in the human community (Pope Francis in interview in USA)

I am going to try and respond to the concerns of a recent writing by an anonymous author published in a very reputable journal.

This author says that many offshoots of the Catholic Church are synodal e.g., Anglican Church whose idea of synodal has meant changing of the structures of the church. The Anglican church as an example. A church which broke away from the Catholic church because its founder Henry VIII wanted to marry another woman and the Catholic Church did not approve of the marriage so he started his own Church so he could approve. Nothing Synodal autocratic.

The structure (Synodal) according to the anonymous author, has led to women priests, acceptance of homosexuality and homosexual marriages, openly homosexual clerical relationships and other sinful structures.   Is this Synodality? No.  This is clergy running their own agenda. Which includes sin of the flesh and has nothing to do with synodality.  Women priests?  This has nothing to do with synodality it has to do with the feminist movement and a lack of understanding the charism of priesthood.  “This is my body,” said Jesus.  He was a man not woman.  This is the liturgical gender confusion which has also contributed to the gender confusion in time.  Nothing to do with Synodality.

The document on Synodality is not wrong.  It has been abused by those who wish to bring forward a church but in their own design.  The new understandings having nothing to do with Synodality.  Inclusion means that we all travel together towards the Father.  All. But not at the expense of changing the core of our belief. Not at the expense of the divine word being falsely proposed. Not at the expense means Jesus being proclaimed as visible image of the creator who taught and left behind clear instructions of the road towards our ultimate home taking our brothers and sisters with us and not “God, I thank you I am not like other people, dishonest, adulterers or even tax collectors (Lk 18:9-14).  Instead synodality is “Lord forgive me for I am a sinner” with this prayer we are able to see those weakened by sin as our brothers and sisters and carry them with us “he aint heavy he’s my brother” (Song by the Hollies, 1969).

“I’m not my brother’s keeper?”  (Gn 4:1-9) says lack of Synodality. “Yes, you are” says Jesus, “whatever you do for the least of my brothers you do unto me” (Mt 25:40) this is the meaning of Synodality.  With all its big words and its intellectual sounding ideas the basic meaning is “we walk together, we talk, we listen, we help to understand we understand also and carry our brother/sister when they can’t walk. No one is excluded.  The human ideas which are inserted artificially into the Synodality are false just as false as some interference with the word of God. The Old Testament and the New Testament give us the belief that all human beings are enlivened by the breath of God.  He gives the breath of Life and this makes us brothers and sisters.

Regarding priesthood, this has been given to male and Jesus’ words confirm this “This is my body” a statement. He is male.  To the male he gives the charism of generating life, labour, worship, praise, blessings. To the woman he gives the charism of lifegiving because through her body she carries life and God in His goodness gives her the gift of reparation by allowing her to give birth to life.  Into her hands he entrusted the future and into his hands he entrusted the task of blessing the new life.

The role of woman in the church can be seen as “helper” but never priesthood.   In our day the only time she says “this is my body” (abortion related) it means death.  The “this is my body uttered by a priest” gives life. Yes, salvation of the world does include woman because unless it does there is no life and no world to save, no journey to make, no words to hear listen and understand. 

Yahweh God listens and hears and journeys with man and woman (Synodality) for all time and with their descendants.

Hospitality, inclusion of the sinner, service, love holiness, accompaniment, are Synodal words.  These have the hallmarks of the Catholic Church. At least they should have because this is the church whose founder is Jesus via the person of Peter.  This is Peter’s cross. Carrying a church made up of abortive men and women, those rejected, disabled, divorced and remarried, homosexuality, gender confusion, and various sexual sins. These deep wounds of the brothers and sisters are carried by Peter as he leads as Shepherd of wounded human beings. Synodality is not a fossilised church but a church which moves in and throughout time and speaks a language of the time so that all may understand.  This without changing the treasures and traditions within it. 

Our Church hierarchy who understands Synodality rejoice at the marvel and miracle which is our Church. A church which has travelled throughout time and will continue to travel throughout time. A church in the style which Jesus founded and blessed, and not changed and remodelled and change understandings about love and life and the workings of God. Synodality, means not dividing the church with temporary innovations and sinful structures but and understanding in the words of today the word of God made clearer so that those hearing may listen and understand.   The church is divided when it forgets its charism of listening and hearing and acting.  to bring home not only special ones with flattened kneecaps because of their kneeling but those who weep because they couldn’t rescue a lamb.  The bramble bush was too thorny and one is lost. 

As for discussion on marriage and family cannot be changed even when love is thought to be present because “man and woman” he created them because man and woman are designed to fit one another to take forward creation into the future. God’s template having be completed.   The church beginning with Peter cannot remain silent or even consider changing the template of the Creator, it is His design and where it is challenged it ruptures a divine design (offence against the Holy Spirit?”)   Synodality is absent because shepherds who preach error are false shepherds, indeed wolves in sheep’s clothing.  Synodality always must speak truth so that those who listen, hear the truth of God’s love.

“Rescue those who are taken away and those who stagger to the slaughter. Hold them back from their doom” (Prov 24:11) Synodality demands that truth is told/spoken  not only on matters of physical death but soul and spirit death. S Synodal Church always attempts to rescue those doomed to die because he is our brother says Synodality.  As we walk together, we know and turn and hear, listen and, where possible help.

Synodality never destroys the church, no matter mores of the day.  Synodality enhances the church and those brought under this Tent (church) (Tabernacle Ex. 33). But walks as a whole humanity each with own faults, imperfections, which we carry on our shoulders as our cross. Synodality means  having heard a cry walking next to our brother/sister who doesn’t feel worthy of walking with me.

Synodality, if not adulterated, means we do not change the structure which is true and leads us home.  

A synodal church is one which listens, hears and teaches. Truth.  A synodal church is known by the pain it carries upon its shoulders (structures) but even so it recognises that it holds a “pearl of great price”.

The document  of the “Synod on Synodality 21-23” refers to Peter’s  desire for the Church to speak, listen, hear the voice walking in a spirit of collaboration about the journey of humanity towards the Risen Lord  and it’s not a journey to secular demand for change to modern interpretations. However, Synodality also means also listening to non-believers and those left behind by the wayside and talking and listening to what they say so that they may also hear words of the Risen Lord through the love of the Church.

The faith is that Jesus came, suffered, died and rose from death for all and that includes non-believers and by holding them and leading and talking and listening we may lead them to the Father’s house.  A Synodal church does this.  We cannot be the Church of our Saviour otherwise.  We bring those who cannot believe, into the Tent of meeting, (church).

Synodality is not a structure to be intellectualised it is a roadmap which leads directly, without detour, home. No changing of road. No changing or road signs, walking like the Camino together at our own pace, in our time, bringing with us an echo and knowledge of our past beliefs into our time and language.

When Synodality is intellectualised, it becomes a demand, which is disobedience, rather than an understanding of the reasons why the journey is the right one. An understanding which leads to truth and a joyful desire to follow that truth.

Synodality means also looking at the sinful structures and acting on these structures.  The church always is present where change needs to happen e.g., climate change, assaults against life. Assaults against human design, abandonment of the lowly and weak.  assaults against tradition and attempted destruction of the Tent (Church) of the people of God. 

The above mentioned anonymous, cites a Prof of Dogmatic Theology who says that “coming together we get a flattening of the church with every member of the body acting like it’s the same” Synodality speaks of us all walking together which does not “flatten” the church, the body, but strengthens it by shedding the untruths which have been taught to others.  In doing this we not only strengthen the body but enrich all members in a symphonic manner. The body does not have to act the same, it is the same.

The church is divinely structured.  As a “tent of meeting” for the people of God which is led by priests, bishops, Peter. It’s assisted by parish councils, synods, and governing mechanisms. Synodality speaks of being united in thought, word and deed and loving government of the Tent our church and our world, our home built for us by our father. Wrong governance means that an acrid smoke has entered the tent causing toxic chaos and confusion.

Concern that the Synod will create a majoritarian mass?  The synod will create a voice. A voice of the Holy Spirit speaking to the needs and language of the day.  The Holy spirit will not speak against Father, Jesus the Church he founded on Peter and doctrines he has taught over the millennia. His voice, through Peter, will be heard and recognised throughout all time.  The true voice of Synodality does not speak untruths and will be in communion with all truth. However, untruths spoken in name of Synodality are false and shepherds teaching false truths in the name of compassion bring upon themselves and those they convince great suffering. 

The Holy Spirit does warn against Zeitgeist, the spirit of the moment. There is no truth in changing sacraments so as to accommodate of individual who choose not to want to hear the truth and shepherds who hear the error remain silent.     These false shepherds desire to hear and speak their own truth and their own voice at a gathering which demands that eternal truths be changed and the few who are attentive to these voices do not wish to listen to the voice of the church because times and the confusion have enabled such demands to be made.

Synodality means that those journeying together with the Church will know one another, speak with one another, hear one another with one voice and be there for one another.  It shouldn’t be a voice which causes confusion.  This should not be the voice of a Synod called by Peter under guidance of the third person of the Most Holy Trinity. The voices which hear Peter, will hear the words of Jesus “he who hears you hears me” (Lk10:16) and it will not be teaching a novel reform but reform which brings people of this era back into the fold in a way which they understand and can respond to the language they know, with an assent to the mysterious in which the mystery of Our Saviour is made known and present in our world.

Not a new understanding with changed understandings but understandings in a language of the time.  An understanding in which the core beliefs are understood and honoured and loved as truth.  With true understanding development of the true teachings bring great joy to many who did not previously understand. Brings the church to the people who were not there when seeds were planted. Not different but new and enriched, fresh for the freshness of new people received into the Tent. Authentic development is faithful to the Word of God both in Spirit and written word taught and explained authentically by the Church.  Understanding the Word truly makes the heart flutter with joy at the meeting of the Saviour in the company of other brothers and sisters.

Authentic development is like the development of a human being.  Childhood, adolescence, maturity, and wisdom of the age.  Authentic development cannot bypass any one of these stages without causing permanent damage. Synodality seeks to meet the needs by these developments as authentically as human development in each stage each following the other. The church is always alive, vibrant, growing and untarnished. The DNA of a human being does change with time with modifications made, so also the DNA of the Church does authentically change.

We are in the midst of change, including the Church, and whenever there is change there is confusion, destabilisation, intruders, but this is because the past has gone, the present seems confused and future unknown.  Synodality says, “do not be afraid I am with you always.  (Isaiah 41:10).  Synodality says, (with Mercy) to those who want radical change, come join us, don’t be afraid. Or “I will not leave you orphans. I will come to you” (Jn 14:18).  Synodality says “let’s journey together and talk and let’s understand”.  Speaking to someone who has not heard the voice of truth is fruitless because that person doesn’t recognize the voice of truth but with explanation the voice becomes familiar and eventually loved. 

If synodality is understood.  if there is a love for the lost. If we journey together talking, and learning the same language of love and truth then the Tent (church) can be extended to incorporate others.

Synodality means just that, bringing all under One Shepherd. The bishops, priests, laity, each listening, hearing and speaking with one voice, one belief and one Lord. We speak and understand what the Lord is saying to his people without the need to change the core meaning.  

“I have other sheep that are not of this flock and I must bring them in also.  They too will listen to my voice and there shall be one flock and one shepherd” (Jn 10:16