The opening of the Synod on Synodality on October 9, 2021 invites the question of what it means to be Church today and its meaning in history. This question is also at the basis of the Synodal journey that the Italian Church is setting out on, and of those in progress or beginning in Germany, Australia and Ireland.
Those who have followed the Assemblies of the Synod of Bishops in recent years have certainly seen how much diversity shapes the life of the Catholic Church. If at one time a certain latinitas or romanitas constituted and marked the education of the bishops – who, among other things, understood at least a little Italian – today diversity emerges strongly at every level: mentality, language, approach to issues. Far from being a problem, this is a resource as ecclesial communion is achieved through the real life of peoples and cultures. In a fractured world like ours, it is a prophecy.
We should not view the Church as a Lego set with bricks that all fit together neatly. That would be a mechanistic mage of communion. We might better think of it as a symphonic relationship, of different notes that together give life to a composition. If we were to take the image further, I would say that it is not a symphony where the parts are already written and assigned, but more like a jazz concert, where one follows the inspiration shared in the moment.