May 22, 2024

The American Synod Counselor and Sociologist is passionate about the World Synod

American sociologist Tricia C. According to Bruce, Pope Francis was recently appointed to the Council of Episcopal Advisers, a global episcopal group that deals with “really difficult issues.” He hopes to help summarize and resolve, and “with passion, not an agenda,” Bruce said.

“The synodal process is not just the beginning,” the Catholic sociologist said in an interview with the OSV news agency. The documents that have emerged from the process so far reflect “some of the most pressing but unresolved issues in the church.” The second and final session of the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, entitled “For a Synodal Church: Community, Participation and Mission”, will be held in October 2024.

Tricia C. Bruce is a sociologist at the Center for the Study of Religion and Society at Notre Dame, Indiana, and president-elect of the Society for the Sociology of Religion. He researches the attitudes and behavior of American Catholics, the increasing polarization in American churches, positions on abortion, and the reaction of the faithful to the abuse scandal. According to the OSV, Bruce conducted a survey on the women's diaconate and found that many Catholic women in the United States were interested in the ministry.

“I have great respect for Pope Francis' willingness to kneel in all of this.”

Bruce considers himself a sociologist with a strong interest in the Catholic Church and the general understanding of religion and society. “Some of the threads that run through my research are using the tools of social science to truly understand the diversity of experiences, backgrounds and attitudes within the fabric of the church,” Bruce told OSV. At the upcoming synod, Bruce wants to bring this experience to the synodal process, even if his exact mission is “a bit of a secret” for now. Nevertheless, he feels honored by his appointment to the circle of synod advisers. “I have great respect for Pope Francis' willingness to lean into all of this and be a leader who is willing to ask these difficult questions,” the sociologist said.

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2 consultants from German speaking countries

The Council of Synod Counselors (“Counselors”) currently consists of 16 experts, including four women, two of whom are from German-speaking countries: Birgit Weiler, a religious and theologian working in Peru, and Miriam Vijlens, a Dutch canon law expert who teaches in Erfurt. Brazilian theologian Maria Clara Lucetti Pinkemer and sociologist Bruce will also be there. The remaining twelve advisers are priests or bishops, all with strong theological qualifications.