Vol 20 No 3 2013

Shifting Paradigms: The Synod of 2012

Jan Snijders, S.M

Abstract

In what turned out to be the final half year of his Pontificate Pope Benedict presided over a Synod intended to focus on modern secularism and the ensuing abandonment of religious practice by so many traditionally Catholic people. The preparation of the Synod and its initial stages followed the familiar pessimistic approach: blaming modernity for hedonism and materialism and for destroying spiritual values. Unexpectedly, the very last ten days of the Synod were marked by a renewed interest in Vatican II, a missionary openness to the positive values of the contemporary world marked not so much by secularism as by individualization. The media had already turned off the Synod as a non-event, and as a consequence missed the remarkable shift of paradigm.