Diocesan Synod

| | Comments (8)

Starting this evening and over the next month or so we will be having four "listening sessions" as part of a Diocesan Synod convened by our Bishop. Thomas Wenski is relatively new to Orlando. He was one of the few Florida Bishops who had the courage to speak out unequivocally regarding the judicial murder of Terri Schiavo--although I must say it came rather late in the day. Nevertheless, I regard this as a good sign. I don't know what the agenda is or what exactly Bishop Wenski is asking of us. He wants to have a vision for the Direction of the Church in the Diocese of Orlando over the next several years.

I suppose I'm posting this because I had never heard of a diocesan synod, much less involvement of lay people in any large capacity at all. I know there were lay advisors at Vatican II, but this seems to be a synod called to listen to the people of the Church. Anyway, as tonight is the "listening session" closest to me, I plan to try to attend. I have no idea whether it will be mobbed or empty. I rather hope (and dread) the former, but I honestly expect the latter.

Anyone have any experiences of this kind in your own diocese?

Bookmark and Share


I do. Our small parish was the only one who "mobbed" the listening sessions. I was then chosen as a synod delegate. I hated it. I can think of nothing good that came of it. It's more of the same yada-yada that the chancery office has been full of for years.

The way ours was set up, it was very difficult for people who wanted to stand for orthodoxy, more beautiful music, pro-life ministries, etc. to be heard.

I felt like ours was a complete waste of time and resources as far as changes made. It only led to more paper and more layers of chancery people.

Sorry to be so cynical, and I hope yours will be better! I think the process could work. But when you have a fairly poorly catechized mob of people, too much is focused on "inclusiveness" and "welcoming" (in the secular and politicized jargon of our day). When you have women standing up giving group reports saying things like, "Well, we'd like to talk about the ordination of women, but this probably isn't the place....."

It was a situation of people who don't really understand the nature of the church all got together and talked about how to change what they really didn't understand....

Sorry to be negative!

No personal experience, but the provisions of the Code of Canon Law cover diocesan synods.

I am in the Diocese of St. Thomas. We had our first Diocesan Synod last year. Each group in the diocese sent a representative delegate to it. They all met with the Bishop and then reported back to their group, who then drew up a goal-oriented paper to be presented at another meeting.
It was all very interesting, but I have to agree with Mama T, in that it was a total waste of time and energy. Nothing has and nothing will come out of it.
So sad.

Somehow, reading your post I am reminded of Hillary Clinton's 'listening tour'. I hate to be so cynical but I wonder if it is one of those very trendy devices designed to forge consensus and drive to the 'lowest common denominator.'

Wouldn't it be nice if the bishop instead undertook to travel around the doicese to host a series of 'teaching sessions.' But I guess that would be hopelessly old-fashioned.

Hi All,

Thanks for the input. I have to be honest and say that I have detected something of this in the language used to phrase what would be happening. Better to go prepared; however, I also go confident that good will come of it. Bishop Wenski was known in his previous Diocese as being a listener and gathering the community together. He had a very strong mission to the hispanic community. I obviously don't know which way this will go, but I have hope that the Holy Spirit will lead it and the Bishoip will be willing to hear.

If not, good will still come of it because God has allowed it and inspired the Bishop for whatever reason to engage in this. I think it may just be a kind of formal opening to his episcopacy and that he is trying to set a tone of listening to the Catholic community. But forewarned is forearmed and we'll see what transpires. Thank you all and thanks to whoever else contributes before the meeting this evening. I am blessed to have such good people advising and cautioning.

I hope ours is a better experience than yours; but time alone shall tell.



In my diocese we had a Benedictine bishop for 25 years who brought the listening concept with him to the diocese from the Rule. He didn't always do what everybody asked him to --- how could he, that would be self-contradictory given the battlefield nature of my diocese --- but because he listened (the Rule says, to the youngest and most junior first, with equal charity to all) he actually had the knowledge necessary to make those choices that had to be made.

An example would be the listening sessions with lay women he had, out of which emerged the Ministry of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing (aka "Project Rachel") --- but which also instigated denunciations to the Curial Powers, since laywomen who were not strictly anti-abortion were not immediately hushed up at the meetings .....

Public listening sessions such as you describe do draw the media, and also those of our siblings there to have a public tantrum rather that offer their knowledge and wisdom to the bishop; be prepared for some hollering, especially if the bishop has made any decisions that have riled any groups recently.

karen marie

Dear Karen,

Thank you. Interestingly, the Bishop hasn't really been here long enough to make any impression at all. I really think this is just an introductory invitation for him to find out what he is pastoring and where he needs to go with us. At least that's my impression--we aren't addressing any profound problem, we aren't planning to rebuilt the Cathedral or some other monumental thing (so far as I know). So I hope it doesn't degenerate to hollering. But people will be people at all times.



We have a synod coming up in our Diocese (Allentown, PA) in the fall...I'm already praying and lighting candles! Keep us posted as to how things go.
God bless!



About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on May 26, 2005 7:28 AM.

Two Medieval English Dictionary Sources was the previous entry in this blog.

On What You Don't See is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

My Blogroll