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In an address in Rome on 17 October 2015, Pope Francis proclaimed that ‘It is precisely this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium’. Over the intervening years, the shift from the old to the new – from a hierarchical to a synodal Church – has progressively gathered momentum.

Globally, the 2021–24 Synod – ‘For a Synodal Church’ – is emerging as the most significant gathering for the Church since the Second Vatican Council 60 years ago. 


An extensive consultation process has been undertaken, covering all regions of the world and many levels of the Church. Drawing on that feedback, an impressive Working Document for the Continental Stage (Enlarge the space of your tent) was published on 24 October 2022, followed on 20 June 2023 by an equally impressive Instrumentum Laboris (Working Document) for the first full session of the Synod. 


The first session was held in Rome on 4–29 October 2023, and at the end of the meeting an agreed Synthesis Report was published. All of these documents are readily available at see


To contribute to understanding this important event, we published prior to first session five articles, available here:  

Executive summary

Richard Curtain for the Sense of the Faithful Editorial Committee


What is different about this Synod on synodality?

Richard Curtain for the Sense of the Faithful Editorial Committee


An introduction to the Synod’s working document

Jan Curtain


Vastly different views on reform: Australia and New Zealand

Richard Curtain for the Sense of the Faithful Editorial Committee

The continental stage of the Synod consultations, process and key priorities

Richard Curtain for the Sense of the Faithful Editorial Committee

A new kind of Church

Presentation by Susan Sullivan at an ACCCR Webinar ‘Synod on synodality: a new kind of Church, 27 July 2023

Video of a public discussion: What happened at the First Assembly of the Synod on Synodality in Rome, October 2023?


After the first session was completed, the Sense of the Faithful hosted a public conversation at Newman College, Melbourne on this topic. This conversation included Ms Susan Pascoe AM, Bishop Shane Mackinlay and Br Mark O’Connor. Introductory questions were provided by Fr Frank Brennan SJ and Dr Peter Sheehan. 


Bishop Shane was one of the two bishops elected by the Australian Bishop’s Conference and played a leading role. Susan participated in the Synod as a non-voting expert. Br Mark was present in Rome as the Director of Communications for the Diocese of Parramatta, and provided regular inspiring reports during the session. 


The video recording of this meeting can be accessed on our dedicated YouTube Channel.



Towards the Second Session, October 2024


On 11 December 2023, the General Secretariat of the Synod published a guideline entitled Towards October 2024, which is available here. This valuable document provides a variety of suggestions as to how individual communities within can contribute to the discussion at the final session of the Synod in October 2024. 

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