Is Church Governance Becoming More Open and Inclusive? Religious Studies Professor Explains

William Clark, SJ, associate professor of religious studies. Photo by Tom Rettig

The Conversation

Pope Francis recently launched a two-year global consultation process leading to the 2023 "Synod on Synodality," thereby expanding the "Synod of Bishops" institution to encourage much wider consultation with members and organizations of the church at all levels as part of the synod process. But what is the Synod of Bishops to begin with?

In an article for The Conversation, William Clark, SJ, associate professor of religious studies at Holy Cross, explains the meaning and purpose of the Synod of Bishops, as well as its evolution throughout history.

Clark, who specializes in ecclesiology and is particularly interested in the role of lay persons and of local communities in the worldwide Catholic church, believes that the upcoming Synod on Synodality is "the culmination of an effort to bring a greater degree of openness, collaboration and mutual listening to the church."

"Unlike previous synods, this one officially begins in dioceses all over the world, with opportunities for mutual consultation at every level and among many different church organizations," said Clark.

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