While I'm sure that the biggest buzz will be regarding the forthcoming encyclical, the piece that I find most interesting and most hopeful is the discussion of increased synodality.
During this morning’s audience with members of the XIII Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops:
The key topic dealt with during the audience – which turned into a work meeting – was “synodality”. Francis said he would discuss how to strengthen this aspect, with the eight cardinals who appointed to advise him on Curia reform. One of the suggestions is to find a new method of coordinating synodality with the Petrine ministry.It appears that this is on his agenda for discussion with his 'Group of Eight' when they meet later in the year.
Why is this important? Precisely because church governance is one of the practical issues that separate Catholic and Orthodox Christians. The Ecumenical Patriarch has already expressed his hopefullness at Pope Francis' move to build his commitee of cardinals. A more synodal approach at the Holy See would serve as an olive branch to Orthodox leaders--to whom synodal government is key.
Remember, 2054 is rapidly approaching. 1000 years of official separation in the Body of Christ. Let us pray that we Catholic Christians can do our part to end the millenium of Christian disunity and usher in a new millenium of Christian unity.