Talk to us

CathNews, the most frequently visited Catholic website in Australia, is your daily news service featuring Catholics and Catholicism from home and around the world, Mass on Demand and on line, prayer, meditation, reflections, opinion, and reviews. And, what's more - it's free!

Susan Pascoe (Supplied)

The first assembly of the Synod on Synodality demonstrated that an effective way to break the chains of clericalism and highlight the experience of women in the Church is to listen and pray together before discussing issues, say two Synod participants. Source: OSV News.

Australian Susan Pascoe, who served as an expert and facilitator at the Synod, and Momoko Nishimura, a consecrated laywoman from Japan, jointly inaugurated the English-language program of the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations‘ School for Synodality yesterday. Separate webinars were offered in Spanish and French as well.

Clericalism exists “because we do not listen to one another; the clergy do not listen to women or the laity”, said Ms Nishimura, who served as one of Pope Francis’ delegate presidents at the assembly in October.

The work of the synod assembly in October was built around “conversations in the Spirit,” a process through which every person in a small group has a chance to speak on a topic for four minutes without interruption, before the group pauses for prayer. Each person then has three minutes uninterrupted to respond to what others shared in the first round. After another pause for prayer, an open discussion begins.

“This is a very synodal way of sharing,” Ms Nishimura said, and one that forces participants to listen and to pray before reacting.

In preparation for the second assembly of the Synod, scheduled for October 2-27, dioceses and bishops’ conferences have been asked to hold further listening sessions and consultations focused on the synthesis report of the first assembly.

Ms Pascoe told webinar participants that the synthesis report insisted that women and men in the Church “are clothed with the same baptismal dignity,” that women make up the majority of people in the pews and they usually are the first to transmit the faith to a new generation.

Synod members said, “Let’s stop talking about women as a problem and instead promote a culture where women and men dialogue together,” she said.

To move the process forward, Ms Pascoe said, women need to advocate in their parishes, dioceses and bishops’ conferences for “more equal participation of women,” and they should do so using Scripture, tradition and canon law to support their arguments.

They should seek ways to be involved in and contribute to the preparation for the second assembly of the Synod, contacting their diocese or bishops’ conference if an open invitation has not already been extended, she said.


Listening is a powerful antidote to clericalism, speakers say (By Cindy Wooden, CNS via OSV News)