In just a little over a month, the curtain will rise on a keenly anticipated Synod of Bishops on Synodality in Rome. Though notoriously difficult to define, “synodality” generally refers to the idea of the whole Church journeying together, with members listening to one another in establishing priorities and policies.
To date, much of the commentary about the looming synod has focused on what “listening” might imply vis-à-vis the standard canon of contested issues in Western Catholic debate – blessing same-sex unions and the ordination of women as deacons for the left, for example, or the traditional Latin Mass and the struggle against abortion on the right.
Surely, however, if “listening” is to mean anything in a global Church of 1.3 billion people, more than two-thirds of whom today live outside the traditional boundaries of Western civilization, it must imply that issues of greater concern in other parts of the world have to be taken at least as seriously.
For an example with obvious contemporary relevance, consider the issue of blasphemy laws.