Synod and Synodality, Theology, History, Canon Law and Ecumenism in New Contact

By Sullivan, Francis A. | The Catholic Historical Review, April 2006 | Go to article overview

Synod and Synodality, Theology, History, Canon Law and Ecumenism in New Contact


Sullivan, Francis A., The Catholic Historical Review


Synod and Synodality, Theology, History, Canon Law and Ecumenism in New Contact. Edited by Alberto Melloni and Silvia Scatena. [Christianity and History: Series of the John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies in Bologna, Vol. 1.] (Münster: LIT Verlag. 2005. Pp. iv, 720. euro69,90 paperback.)

This volume contains thirty papers that were presented at an international colloquium that was held at Bruges in 2003 on the topic: "Synod and Synodality in the Churches." Half of the papers are in English; the rest are in French (7), Italian (7), and Spanish (1). An abstract of each paper is provided in English. The papers are grouped under seven topic headings: "Theological Foundation," "Historical Depth," "19th-20th Century," "Synodality at 'Regional' Level," "Panorama on Some cases of Roman Catholic Synodality," "Central Government and Communion," and "Some case Studies in Decision Making and Synodal Practice." While the majority of the papers focus on the Catholic Church, other churches whose experience of synodality is treated are the Russian Orthodox, Anglican, Reformed, Baptist, and Methodist.

The colloquium is noteworthy for the number of different synodal structures that are discussed. Those in the Catholic Church are the consistory, diocesan synods, national synods, national pastoral councils, regional synods, episcopal conferences, councils or federations of episcopal conferences, and the Synod of Bishops. Those elsewhere are the Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church (1917-18), synodical government in Anglican and Protestant churches, the proposed European Protestant Synod, and the World Council of Churches. The international character of the colloquium is reflected in the number of countries or regions in which the practice of synodality in the churches is described: Russia, England, Germany, Canada, India, Latin America, West Africa, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland. In most cases, the authors are members of the churches and citizens of the countries about which they write. …

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