Oct 31, 2016
When the pot is boiling, turn down the heat. You can't be sure, but that could well have been part of the reasoning behind Pope's Francis's decision to choose as topic of the next world Synod of Bishops "Young People, Faith, and Vocational Discernment."
For months, speculation out of Rome had focused on the possibility that the Pope would tell the 2018 synod to debate ordaining married men as priests in countries with an acute clergy shortage. Francis himself was said to be interested in that.
If so, it's not unreasonable to think that topic may have been set aside in view of the surprisingly contentious synods on marriage in 2014 and 2015 as well as the ongoing debate on how to understand Pope Francis's follow-up document, Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love). That's enough excitement for now, someone might reason.
However that may be, the theme chosen – youth, faith, and discernment – should not be dismissed as an option in favor of blandness. When 250 or so prominent bishops from around the world gather at the Vatican two years from now, they'll have an opportunity to make a much needed course correction in thinking about vocations.