Synods vs Conferences

In the ancient and medieval Latin Church, as in the Eastern Churches today, provincial, regional and national synods were convened under the presidency of the provincial metropolitan or national / regional primate. Synodality declined in the West over time, but Vatican II restored a semblance of it with the institution of episcopal national conferences. National conferences, however, lack the “teeth” of true synods of old and are under the presidency of an elected, rotating bishop rather than a canonical primate. Were there any discussions in the mid-20th century around restoring the more traditional synodal system? Were any particular arguments presented to justify the more novel approach of conferences? Just curious.

I am not certain they abandoned it totally. They do have “synods” such as “Synod on the Family”.

The USCCB meets and isues statements, but they obviously aren’t necessarily doctrinal and rightly so. We already have the college of cardinals to advise or correct the pope when need be.

I am not the expert on synods, but I think they simply aren’t facing the same degree of challenges compared to the early Christianity -e.g. the canon or the creed.


…I was thinking on the same level as Matt–though I am purely pedestrian, I think that the synods were of grave import… since there has not been new heresies or contentions of Faith that requires them, there doesn’t seem to be a need to implement such official conferences.

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Maran atha!



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