Greek Byzantine Catholic Bishop Manuel Nin stresses that Synod means, above all, journeying with Christ and warns against “Christian parliamentarianism.”

Edward Pent - August 24, 2023 - VATICAN CITY — Despite claims to the contrary, the upcoming Synod on Synodality is unlike any synod of the Eastern Churches — it resembles a parliamentary process, and lacks a clear and coherent goal, a Greek Catholic bishop who will participate in the meeting has said.

In an Aug. 3 commentary published on the Greek Catholic Exarchate website, Bishop Manuel Nin, the Greek Byzantine Catholic Church’s apostolic exarch to Greece, expressed several concerns about the synod general assembly, the first session of which will take place Oct. 4-29 and the second in October 2024. The upcoming meeting marks a significant break with previous synod assemblies in that a selected group of lay participants will now be allowed to vote.

Bishop Manuel recognized that this exercise of authority has a “synodal dimension” in that decisions taken at a “fully collective level belong to the synod’s bishops,” but he stressed that if the West understands synodality as where “everyone, lay and clerical, act together in order to arrive at some ecclesiastical, doctrinal, canonical, disciplinary decision, whatever it may be, it becomes clear that such synodality does not exist in the East.”

Synodality in all Christian Churches, both East and West, cannot be a kind of reflection of the modern world whereby the Church becomes like a “modern Western democracy, possibly parliamentary, where everyone can say everything,” he warned. The life of the Church, he said, “has never been a form of democracy in which everyone decides everything by majority rules.”

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