Vatican synod agenda focuses on participation and inclusion, not hot button issues

By Christopher White, 10 July 2024
A view of one of the small groups participating in the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. Image: Vatican Media


Many of the hot button issues that dominated Pope Francis’ high stakes summit on the future of the Catholic Church last October, such as women deacons and welcoming LGBTQ Catholics, will be off the table when prelates and lay delegates return to Rome this October for the meeting’s concluding monthlong assembly.

Instead, according to a much anticipated document released by the Vatican on July 9, participants in the second session of the synod on synodality will be asked to consider how the church’s structures can encourage greater participation and to determine where there is room for “legitimate diversity” among local churches on different issues and practices.

Among the areas identified by the document is the need for women to be more involved in both “decision-making and taking processes” within the church, the possibility of lay women and men preaching at Mass, consideration of how to build a culture of transparency and accountability across the church and the creation of new instituted ministries for listening and accompaniment.

But it also makes clear that some of the most contested issues which have continually surfaced during a three-year consultative process and at last October’s Vatican meeting, will ultimately be dealt with by working groups of theologians and Vatican officials set up by the pope, with many of the most sensitive issues falling under the purview of the Vatican’s powerful Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.

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With thanks to the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) and Christopher White, where this article originally appeared.


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