The word “synodality” is frequently heard across the Catholic world these days, but few are aware of its many implications.
One person very conscious of what synodality means in Catholic India today is journalist and activist John Dayal. In a recent piece, he dwelled on the “three most virulent fractures which have beset the Indian Church for decades.”
Firstly, it is clericalism. By this, we understand the sense of entitlement that the clergy has appropriated to itself so that everything — yes, everything — must be controlled and done in reference to them alone.
The second issue is gender justice. Numerous reports over the years have lent credibility to the statement that India is probably the worst place in the world for women, so rampant are the crimes against them, especially those who are poor and defenseless.
Thirdly, the insidious presence of caste in the Indian Church. Caste is India’s homegrown version of racism and is experienced differently in various parts of the country. Like racism, it is often subtle and contemptuous of “others, not like us” in skin tone or ethnic origin.