Archive for category Synod of Bishops

Next synod likely to focus on ordaining married men / Cruxnow.com

In response to acute priest shortages around the world, Pope Francis may well decide that his next Synod of Bishops should focus on ministry—including the question of whether married men could be ordained to celebrate the sacraments, in effect creating a parallel priesthood.

After the bruising but fruitful experience of the synod on the family, one thing is clear: Francis has created an instrument of discernment that is capable of wrestling with big issues in the contemporary Church.

“The reformed synod – a global consultation, followed by two assemblies separated by a year, concluding in a major papal teaching document that resets pastoral strategy for the next generation – means that big topics can no longer be kicked into the long grass on the basis that they are just too big to deal with.

“If a vast topic such as the Church’s preparation for marriage and its handling of divorcés can be discussed, it means other burning issues can be too. And top of that list are questions about ministry: access to the sacraments, the role of women and lay people, as well as the role of deacons.

“Some are saying that pastoral ministries will the topic for the next synod, likely to be scheduled for 2018-19.

‘No one doubts the question is an urgent one. More than half of the Catholic Church’s communities worldwide have no resident priest.”

By Austen Ivereigh, Cruxnow.com — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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How Pope Francis’ ‘Amoris Laetitia’ could affect families and the Church / The New York Times

In what could be an important moment for his leadership of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Francis is scheduled to issue a major document on Friday (Apr. 8) regarding family issues. It is titled ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ Latin for ‘The Joy of Love.’

“In the document, known as an apostolic exhortation, the pope could change church practice on thorny subjects like whether divorced Catholics who remarry without having obtained annulments can receive holy communion. He might address debates over same-sex relationships, cohabitation and polygamy, an issue in Africa. Or, he could sidestep such divisive topics and stick to broader philosophical statements.

“For the past two years, Francis has guided the church through a sweeping exercise of self-examination that some scholars have compared to the Second Vatican Council. Catholics around the world filled out detailed questionnaires about whether the church meets their families’ needs. Bishops and other church officials spent two tumultuous meetings at the Vatican, known as synods, debating and arguing.

“The broad topic was whether the Catholic Church should reposition itself, and how. Francis listened, prodded and sometimes steered the process, but he mostly kept his own counsel. Until now.

“Having led Catholics into such delicate terrain, Francis has stirred hope and fear. Some religious conservatives warn he could destabilize the church and undermine Catholic doctrine. Some liberals, though, are hoping Francis will directly address same-sex marriage and contraception in a way that would make the church more responsive to today’s realities.

“‘I’m sure he knew he would touch some nerves,’ said John Thavis, a longtime Vatican analyst and the author of ‘The Vatican Diaries.’ ‘He may not have appreciated how much opposition there could be.’

“But both sides might be disappointed.”

By Laurie Goodstein and Jim Yardley — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Global women religious leader asks them to do synod’s unfinished work / National Catholic Reporter

The leader of the umbrella group for some 600,000 global Catholic women religious has said that in the wake of this month’s Synod of Bishops the women are called to carry forth the pastoral work that the official church is sometimes not able to do.

“Maltese Sr. Carmen Sammut — who participated in the Oct. 4-25 Synod as one of 32 women who took part in non-voting roles alongside the 270 prelate-members — said the women religious should engage with people church institutions may not even know need help.

“‘I think that we should not give up our role at the frontiers of the church,’ said Sammut, who heads the International Union of Superiors General (UISG).”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Synod offers striking softening to remarried, proposing individual discernment / National Catholic Reporter

A worldwide gathering of some 270 Catholic bishops has recommended softening the church’s practice towards those who have divorced and remarried, saying such persons should discern decisions about their spiritual lives individually in concert with the guidance of priests.

“Pope Francis also closed the meeting with a strong renewal of his continual emphasis of the boundless nature of divine mercy, saying: ‘The Church’s first duty is not to hand down condemnations or anathemas, but to proclaim God’s mercy.’

“Although the final document from the Oct. 4-25 Synod of Bishops says discernment for remarried persons can ‘never overlook the demands of truth and love in the Gospel,’ it seems to significantly move decision-making for how they can participate in the church to private conversations in dioceses around the world.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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No Communion for the divorced and remarried, as women take back-row seats at Family Synod

Drafting committee cardinal: Synod will not provide Communion path for remarried

One of the prelates responsible for drafting the final document from the ongoing Synod of Bishops has said he does not anticipate that it will propose changes in the Catholic church’s practices towards the divorced and remarried. Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias — one of ten prelates who co-drafted the document after three-weeks of intense deliberations among some 270 bishops at the Oct. 4-25 Synod — said in particular that one specific proposal that might have allowed the remarried to take Communion would likely not be mentioned.” By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter

Women fear their voices will be sidelined in synod’s final report

The rows of seats in the synod hall, where Catholic bishops are meeting to discuss family issues, are filled with bishops and cardinals — all male. To find any women, look to the back of the room. The women’s distance from the heart of the synod hall reflects fears raised by women’s groups that their participation is a mere token on the Vatican’s part.” By Rosie Scammell, Religion News Service, on Cruxnow.com

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While all eyes are on bishops in Rome, the Australian Church takes stock of abuse

In Rome —

Pope Francis’ plans for inclusiveness divide bishops

Pope Francis had encouraged bishops from more than 120 countries to speak freely when they gathered at the Vatican nearly three weeks ago for a broad discussion of family matters to guide the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. And speak freely, they have.

“The result has been the most momentous, and contentious, meeting of bishops in the 50 years since the Second Vatican Council, which brought the church into the modern era. The meeting has exposed deep fault lines between traditionalists focused on shoring up doctrine, and those who want the church to be more open to Catholics who are divorced, gay, single parents or cohabiting …

“‘This is a pivotal moment of this pontificate,’ said Roberto Rusconi, who teaches the history of Christianity at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, a state school. Pope Francis is sounding out the world’s bishops ‘to better understand whether they are going to follow his line or not.’”

By Laurie Goodstein and Elisabetta Povoledo, The New York Times

In Australia —

Sullivan: Church abuse history ‘shameful, corrosive, cimplicity’

The Church has described its history regarding child abuse in Australia as “shameful, corrosive and complicit” and says it now expects its liability exposure to be potentially $1 billion on top of payments already made.

The CEO of the Truth justice and Healing Council, Francis Sullivan, said in a speech in Canberra on Tuesday (Oct. 20) night the Church’s history was ‘littered with examples of cover-ups and crimes and of Church leaders failing in one of the very basic tenets of their calling.’

By CathNews.com

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Why Pope Francis’s fight in Rome is about more than sex and marriage / The Washington Post

At Pope Francis’s closed-door meeting in Rome this month, top clergy are intensely debating whether the church should bend more to the messy realities of modern families. On the ground, however, it already has.

“Questions on the agenda at the rare, high-level meeting that ends this weekend include whether those who divorce and remarry outside the church can receive Communion, and whether there is a place in Catholic life for same-sex couples. Changing Catholicism’s stance towards such things could begin to unravel the unity of the world’s largest church, say opponents who see the debate in Rome as directly tied to the future of Catholicism. But in many parts of the world – the West in particular – the church has for years quietly been making changes to engage with Catholic families who are transforming in ways that mirror the rest of the society.”

By Michelle Boorstein, The Washington Post — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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