Non-diocesan Catholic groups submit their own synod reports to the US bishops

Inmates, college students, climate activists, LGBTQ people, clergy sex abuse survivors, healthcare professionals, church reform advocates and older Catholics are among those who have participated in their own listening sessions for the grassroots consultation that has been held ahead of the 2023 Synod of Bishops in Rome.

Sep 17, 2022

Young people gather for a climate change rally Sept. 20, 2019, in New York City. (CNS/Gregory A. Shemitz)


By Brian Fraga

Inmates, college students, climate activists, LGBTQ people, clergy sex abuse survivors, healthcare professionals, church reform advocates and older Catholics are among those who have participated in their own listening sessions for the grassroots consultation that has been held ahead of the 2023 Synod of Bishops in Rome.

In all, 110 non-diocesan Catholic groups — universities, advocacy nonprofits, religious congregations, ministries and private associations of individuals, among others — submitted their own synodal “synthesis” reports this year to the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, said Julia McStravog, a consultant helping to coordinate the bishops’ synodal work. Those groups’ reports were to be synthesised along with those of 178 Latin Rite dioceses in the United States into a 10-page document that the bishops’ conference was scheduled to submit to the Vatican’s General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops in late August.

A previous NCR review of more than a dozen diocesan synod reports across the country found that majorities of Catholics who participated in listening sessions over the past year want a welcoming church that reaches out to the marginalised, especially the LGBTQ community, and that allows women to serve in leadership positions, including ordained ministry.

Some of the non-diocesan synod reports that NCR reviewed for this story emphasised similar themes, but also highlighted other issues, such as climate change, the plight of the incarcerated, the concerns of college students, the lingering sense of betrayal experienced by clergy sex abuse survivors, and the various obstacles to accessing quality healthcare that remain for millions of Americans.

The bishops’ conference organised the non-diocesan groups into their own special “region” — “Region 16” — to accompany the 14 geographical regions for dioceses and one region for Eastern-rite eparchies. McStravog told NCR that “Region 16” gave people the opportunity to engage in the synod, especially those who felt that they lacked the same chance to be heard in their own parishes or dioceses.

“Region 16 provided an opportunity for a wide representation of voices to be heard,” Richard Coll, executive director of the US bishops’ Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development, told NCR in a recent interview.

Described by some observers as “the biggest consultation exercise in human history,” the 2021-23 Synod of Bishops’ two-year process of global listening and dialogue is set to culminate in an October 2023 gathering of bishops and synod delegates in Rome. Pope Francis and other church leaders have framed synodality as a decisive step in the Church’s renewal that the Second Vatican Council proposed more than a half century ago.--NCR

(This is a condensed version of the original article.)

Total Comments:0

Name
Email
Comments