Synod document sets stage for wide-ranging debate on women, Catholic ministries and structures / National Catholic Reporter

The newly released document is the culmination of worldwide listening sessions through local churches that took place 2021-2023 and seven continental gatherings held in early 2023.

By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter

“When prelates and lay delegates gather in October for the Synod of Bishops, they will be asked to directly confront a number of pressing questions — including the possibility of women deacons, access to the priesthood for married men, the integration of LGBTQ+ Catholics, and penance for sexual abuse and the abuse of power, conscience and money — in consideration of how the Catholic Church might transform and expand its structures to become more welcoming to all its members. 

“In a much anticipated document released June 20, the Vatican’s synod office set the stage for a wide-ranging discussion for the first session of a high-stakes meeting that is attempting to respond with ‘missionary urgency’ to the challenges of church life in the modern world.

“Known in Latin as an instrumentum laboris, the 60-page document will guide the monthlong Vatican summit on a number of themes and concerns that have emerged during a three-year consultative process, which has focused on how the church could become more focused on greater listening and participation of all of the baptized, not just the Catholic hierarchy. 

“Among the issues and considerations in the document are how a synodal church recognizes and values the central role of the poor; the experience of migrants; victims of sexual abuse, violence and other injustices; the disabled; divorced and remarried Catholics; the need for greater commitment to ecumenism and learning from other faith traditions; and the role of women in the church today.”

By Christopher White, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

Read also — Instrumentium Laboris, “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, Mission,” First Session, XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, October 2023