Mary Ward Lecture – The Synod on Synodality

Curious about how The Mary Ward Lecture went? Here, we’re pleased to share with you a link that will take you to an article written by Christopher White, Vatican Correspondent. The article cites Professor Rownlands’ reflections that took place during her lecture at Margaret Beaufort Institute. (Click here).

Additionally, below you’ll find a comment from our Acting Director of Research, Dr. Dominic White about this lecture: Over a hundred people joined us in person and by Zoom to hear Professor Anna Rowlands give the 2024 Mary Ward Lecture. Anna, who is St Hilda Professor of Catholic Social Thought and Practice in Durham’s Department of Theology and Religion, and a former Director of Studies at Margaret Beaufort, is currently on secondment to the Vatican, with a role, as she put it “both as theologian and civil servant” to the Synod on Synodality. As the Synod reaches its mid-point, Anna reflected on how the Synod, which revives an ancient tradition of church governance, is rooted in Pope Francis’ theology of mission and offers challenges to a world that wants instant answers to complex problems and seeks security through seizing power and territory. Rather, “time is greater than space”, and that demands patience of us, not expecting all the answers at once: Anna used the image of trying to explain the moves of a dance while you’re in the middle of dancing. The creative tension of the synodal process, listening for the “sharp harmonies” between different points of view, both upholds the teaching authority of the Church and asks us to let go of the expectation that “Daddy will fix everything.” Anna’s lecture left us to reflect on the role of the theologian in the Church, and how this is a profoundly synodal role, involving a graced conversation of the whole People of God.