In October 2021, Pope Francis announced a two-year process of listening and dialogue of the Catholic Church, known as the “Synod on Synodality.”
A “synod” is a journey of discernment rooted in the Holy Spirit. In the Synod on Synodality, the entire Church has been called to discern how the Spirit is moving through and with the Body of Christ — inside and outside the Church — so that we may continue to fulfill our mission to evangelize in the world.
During the Synod on Synodality, all Catholics are invited to listen with open hearts and minds, to share from their own lived experiences, and to make space for the voices of those often marginalized or excluded.
With these synodal aims, Pope Francis has invited the Church into what is fundamentally a process of healing — both from wounds suffered inside the Church, and those experienced in other areas of our lives and relationships.
The synodal process is already starting in Catholic dioceses around the world. Whether you are preparing to participate in a synod listening session in your parish, ministry or even facilitate synod sessions for your diocese, YOU can model restorative approaches in this important process. To learn more about local opportunities to engage, contact your parish or diocese.
Synodality and Restorative Practices
The Synod on Synodality is a chance for the Catholic Church to listen intentionally and deeply to the Body of Christ.
This emphasis on deep listening is also an aim of restorative justice, with restorative practices like circle process offering spaces for people to connect deeply with one another, to share stories, and in some cases, to address harm or conflict.
Restorative practices help make room for the Holy Spirit to do its transformative work in the world. As such, they have much to offer the Synod on Synodality’s listening processes.
For more than a decade, CMN has promoted restorative justice within the Catholic community, having witnessed the transformative effects of restorative practices within the context of our anti-death penalty work and engagement with individuals and communities that have suffered trauma, crime, and violence.
Increasingly, CMN has seen Catholic parishes, schools, and ministries turn to restorative practices to help with building community, reflecting together, addressing injustice, and fostering encounters rooted in human dignity.
We are hopeful that throughout the Synod on Synodality, more Catholic communities will embrace these life-giving approaches to healing, listening, and being in relationship with one another.