In 2018, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon announced a synod for our archdiocese. A synod is a meeting where members of the Church come together to review issues and make decisions.
We listened to thousands of Synod members and took into account over 25,000 submissions and 3,500 practical proposals.
The Synod took place on 19 and 20 June 2021. 39 recommendations were voted on, and in the light of this discernment a group of men and women, priests and lay people from our archdiocese started working on the Pastoral Plan, which was launched on the first Sunday of Advent on 28 November 2021.
You can download and read the full Pastoral Plan here.
Synodality is the expectation that everyone will be heard, that the Spirit speaks to us through all parts of the Church's body - the laity and the clergy, the lost, the seeking and the found. Synodality teaches us that a listening heart always strengthens the bonds of love that bind us together in Christ.
Synodality expands this horizontal (human) scope beyond the confines of the Church and invites all Catholics to listen to all of God's people.
Secondly, it emphasises the vertical (divine) dimension by highlighting the place of the Holy Spirit in this exercise of listening. We do not just hear each other. We hear the voice of the Holy Spirit together and through each other.
Since we cannot grow into the fullness of Christ's Body without allowing the Spirit to make us who we are meant to be, we need to make space for each other and together discern the voice of the Spirit in and through each other.
Synodality goes beyond consultation but it does not exclude it. Consultative bodies such as the Archdiocesan Synodal Council and Deanery Synodal Councils have been set up.
We are working on another structure called Families of Parishes, which will enable parishes to work synodally in units smaller than deaneries and larger than parishes.
Attempts to involve those who feel on the margins of the Church have been flourishing. One of these is a regular gathering of the LGBTQ+ community in Anfield.
To help us become a truly synodal church we have created a synodal council that will continue the work of the Synod and monitor the implementation of the Pastoral Plan. This will hear the voices of lay people, especially those of women at the heart of decision-making in the archdiocese - this was a key commitment of the Pastoral Plan.
There has been a new advisory body for the archbishop that will include laywomen and men as well as the clergy. New structures have been created on an archdiocesan, deanery and parish level to allow all voices to be heard.
All Synod updates will be shared on our website, social media channels and through Catholic Pic. Updates will also be shared in Archbishop Malcolm's pastoral letters.
Appoint a full-time youth advisor to:
We will increase support for the Catholic life of our schools by:
We shall establish an externally-facilitated process to explore with the priests of the archdiocese what needs to be developed to effectively support their flourishing in the human, spiritual, liturgical, theological, intellectual and pastoral aspects of their lives.
Many resources have been recently created exploring synodality, especially in relation to the Universal Synod 2021 – 2023 called by Pope Francis. These may provide a useful overview and give some practical insights into incorporating synodal practices in our own situations here in Liverpool as we implement the Pastoral Plan from our own Synod.
Five 30-minute talks given by Dr Austen Ivereigh to coincide with the Universal Synod, including reflective questions. We especially recommend the third talk, 'concrete examples of the synodal process', and the fourth - on 'decision-taking and decision-making'.
This is an incredibly rich collection of the talks and interviews from the Oxford Symposium held at Campion Hall, Oxford in March 2022. It includes input from our own Synod moderators, Frs Philip Inch and Matthew Nunes.
Cardinal Grech discusses the importance of both listening and speaking in the synodal process, and explores what is meant by synodal conversion.
Nick Austin SJ talks about the disposition of freedom and ways of recognising the genuine presence of the Spirit.
A helpful overview of synodality in practice with some practical pointers that may resonate with experiences of synodal meetings.
This interview addresses a range of issues, including how the synodal process can engage those who are not usually involved, or easily engaged, in Church processes. He asks the very challenging question, ‘who do we find it difficult listening to?’
The Vatican’s Synod website has lots of helpful information and all the latest news about what is happening with the global synod.
The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has produced this helpful and simple document to explain the synodal process to those involved in England and Wales.
Vademecum means 'take me with you' and these resources exist to accompany preparations for the Synod on synodality.
The Margaret Beaufort Institute Mini Series on Synodality is a very full overview in three YouTube lectures by Dr Peter Coughan looking at the history of the synod in Parts I and II. In Part III Dr Coughan concentrates on Pope Francis’ implementation of the synodal process.
An ongoing podcast: The Church’s Radical Reform by Christopher Lamb, the Vatican correspondent of The Tablet, is a great listen from the perspective of a Vatican journalist.