ByJean-Marc Balhan, SJ and Markus Schmidt, SJ
Reflection on ecumenism and interreligious dialogue is a service that the Society of Jesus continues to offer to the Catholic Church. The General’s International Advisory Group for Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue met September 5-8, 2022. The annual meeting was held at the General Curia in Rome.
The part of the meeting devoted to ecumenism was centered on the theme “Synodality in an ecumenical context: recognizing and learning from the other”. It began on Monday September 5 with an inspiring presentation by the Reverend Jamie Hawkey of the Anglican Communion. He is a theologian and president of the Westminster Abbey Institute. Dr Hawkey explained how the Anglican Communion, in particular the Church of England, practices synodality. In the afternoon, Bishop Khajag Barsamian, representative of the Armenian-Apostolic Church in Rome, presented to the group the practice of synodality within his Church. His presentation was thought-provoking and sustained lively discussion.
On Tuesday morning, three members of the advisory group presented their thoughts on synodality, each in their area of expertise. Heru Prakosa (Indonesia) spoke on synodality in Islam, and Geraldo Luíz de Mori (Brazil) reflected on synodality in Pentecostalism. Milan Žust (Slovenia) presented synodality from the perspective of Centro Aletti in Rome, based on the thoughts and experience of the Centro team. James Hanvey, adviser to Father General Arturo Sosa and Secretary of the Service of Faith at the General Curia, provided an update on the Synodal Process that Pope Francis initiated in October 2021, in connection with the preparation of the Synod of Bishops which will be will take place in October 2023. Synodality will be the central theme of the meeting. Sister Nathalie Becquart, under-secretary of the Synod of Bishops, was also invited to this session.