These words find expression in the introduction to Moira McQueen’s new book, Walking Together: A Primer on the New Synodality. For many lay Catholics, they underlie their own attitude to how the Church ought to arrive at its decisions. Moira adds:

This desire finds expression in all sorts of social and political movements and, while we are sometimes reminded that the Church is not a democracy, neither need it be seen as only hierarchical. (p. 8, Walking Together)

So if the Church is neither a democracy or only hierarchical, what is it?

This question comes to the fore of Catholic thinking this month as Pope Francis inaugurates a synodal process worldwide. He underlines that synodality is necessary for Church leaders and laity to “walk together” but in a different way. The idea is not new. That everyone in the Church walk together has been there since the beginning, although now the way of walking is different. 

But how is it different from its origin? What are the new challenges and opportunities of synodality facing the Catholic Church? Indeed, how is synodality best carried out in today’s complex world? 

Novalis is launching this primer on the new synodality to address these very questions. 

We have been very fortunate to gain the wisdom of Dr. Moira McQueen, Director of the Canadian Catholic Bioethics Institute, a Professor of Moral Theology at the Toronto School of Theology and a past participant in Church synods. Her book will help Catholics – lay and ordained – prepare for and steer competently through the upcoming diocesan and regional synods around the world.

The e-version of this book is now available here. Paperback versions will be available by early January 2022.

Stay tuned, then, for information for this forthcoming – and absolutely necessary – publication. And don’t just take our word for it. Massimo Faggioli, Church historian and Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University says this book is “an essential guide for the next years in the life of the Catholic Church.” 

Simon Appolloni is Associate Publishing Director at Novalis. He has a PhD in religion and environmental studies and a Master of Divinity. Simon finds meaning through music, sharing in community, and the pursuit of a just and sustainable world.

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