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Participants at the assembly of the Synod of Bishops gather for prayer and discussion in the Paul VI Audience Hall at the Vatican on October 21 (CNS/Vatican Media)

Proposals from the Synod on Synodality can be judged by whether they call people to holiness, Sydney Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP writes in a pastoral letter published yesterday. Source: The Catholic Weekly.

In the wide-ranging letter, titled Walking Together in Communion, Participation and Mission, Archbishop Fisher concludes that the saints remind the Synod of “what the Church is for.”

“So one useful criterion for judging every Synod proposal is: Is it likely, by God’s grace, to generate more … holy men and women, such as our Church and world so sorely need?” he wrote.

Archbishop Fisher is a member of the Ordinary Council of the Synod Secretariat, and joined delegates in Rome last month for the first assembly.

In his letter, the archbishop drew particular attention to the strengths and weaknesses of the “conversations in the Spirit” method that has come to prominence during the synodal process.

On contentious topics – such as women’s ordination, the blessing of same-sex unions, clerical celibacy and communion for the divorced and remarried – this method was used to “pour oil on troubled waters, getting people to stop, listen and understand before judging or arguing,” he wrote.

Yet despite this strength, the method was challenged by the need to discern what weight to give competing proposals, and as a result, “A different method will surely be required next time around.”

Archbishop Fisher also drew parallels between the Church and the Holy Father’s environmental teaching — that God’s creation is not “our plaything, to exploit and damage at will.”

“So, too, I would suggest, we must challenge attitudes to our common home the Church—refusing to treat it as our plaything, subservient to our interests and ideologies, to be remade at will,” Archbishop Fisher wrote.

Read Archbishop Anthony Fisher OP’s full letter at


Holiness is the measure of synod proposals, Archbishop Fisher writes in pastoral letter (By Adam Wesselinoff, The Catholic Weekly)