The cardinal overseeing the worldwide synod says the process is an attempt to end the Church’s “culture of silence” about its problems including the clerical sexual abuse crisis and the “deep divisions” that exist between Catholics.
Cardinal Mario Grech, the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops office in Rome, says the synod is an opportunity to have a “frank and open” discussion on the fundamental questions about the future of Catholicism.
“There are problems, issues, within the Church about which we choose to remain silent rather than speaking,” he said during a Mass to open a three-day meeting of church leaders, “The Road to a Synodal Church”, at the Catholic Chaplaincy of the University of Oxford on 24 March.
The cardinal cited disagreements over the liturgy, the role of women in the Church, political divisions, and why some “want to exclude certain categories from our pews,” a reference to LGBT Catholics. Rather than discuss these issues the Church often prefers to remain silent, which leads to the growth of like-minded “cliques” and culture of “us against them”.
While Cardinal Grech said he understood people’s worries about the synod, he argued that there was also a widespread misunderstanding of Francis’ aims.
“This is not a process of revolution: the Pope does not want to change the Church into something that it is not,” he stressed. “This is not a wiping out of tradition. This is is not a process of democratisation. Rather, the synodal process is a time for speech. A time to let the voice of the Church speak and bring forward the issues, the problems that inhabit our synodal Church.”
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With thanks to The Tablet and Christopher Lamb, where this article originally appeared.