Forty years ago, Jesuit Father Arij Roest Crollius wrote: “What is so new about inculturation?” His reflection was a milestone in the understanding of that word and in welcoming a concept at the heart of the theological-pastoral language of the Second Vatican Council. Today, we pose a similar question in light of the impulse that the term “synodality” is receiving from the magisterium of Pope Francis and from the recent document of the International Theological Commission (ITC), Synodality in the life and mission of the Church (SYN).
We also refer to the new apostolic constitution Episcopalis Communio. Are we facing a new concept rich with permanent significance, or is this only a word that echoes a passing fashion? Our contribution wants to bring attention to the document and point out some novelties on the theme.
“It is precisely the path of synodality that God expects of the Church of the third millennium.” Pope Francis pronounced these words during a speech given to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the institution by Pope Paul VI of the Synod of Bishops, on October 17, 2015. It is a programmatic affirmation that calls for a reform of the Church through a pastoral conversion and missionary outreach.