You may remember in the last couple years the listening sessions that took place in dioceses and parishes as a first step in the Church’s “synod on synodality.” Maybe you participated in one of these listening sessions, or even helped to host one, as I did. By Fall of 2022, reports from those parish listening sessions were gathered at the diocesan level, then at the national level by bishops’ conferences, and eventually sent to an organizing committee at the Vatican. At that point, a group gathered to review the reports and write a Document on the Continental Phase, which was meant to synthesize the local and national reports, and prepare for the next stage in the synodal process. When my guest today started to look more closely at the methodology of this process, though, he, as a social scientist, started to question the authenticity of the process itself, at least in terms of what it was purported to be. Are we really hearing the voice of the faithful here?
My guest is Mark Regnerus, professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin and author of an article published in early 2023 in Public Discourse, calling the methodology of the synodal process thus far into question. In addition to this article written for a popular audience, Professor Regnerus is the author of more than 40 articles in peer reviewed journals and, additionally, author of four books, including The Future of Christian Marriage. He joins me today to discuss his misgivings about this synodal process, yes, as a Catholic, but more distinctively from his professional perspective as a social scientist.
● “Census Fidei? Methodological Missteps Are Undermining the Catholic Church’s Synod on Synodality” by Mark Regnerus in Public Discourse
● Document for the Continental Stage (the document Prof. Regnerus questions)
● “Co-Responsibility: An Antidote to Clericalizing the Laity?” by John Cavadini in the Church Life Journal
● Called & Co-Responsible: Exploring Co-Responsibility for the Mission of the Church, Conference at the University of Notre Dame (videos of presentations)
● Recorded seminars on co-responsibility, from the McGrath Institute for Church Life
● “Will They Return to Mass,” with Hans Plate on Church Life Today
Church Life Today is a partnership between the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame and OSV Podcasts from Our Sunday Visitor. Discover more ways to live, learn, and love your Catholic faith at osvpodcasts.com. Sharing stories, starting conversations.