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Cardinal Mario Grech at the Synod media conference yesterday (CNS/Lola Gomez)

Pope Francis has decided that some of the most controversial issues raised at the first assembly of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality will be examined by study groups that will work beyond the Synod’s final assembly in October. Source: CNS.

The study groups will examine the possible revision of guidelines for the training of priests and deacons, the role of women in the Church and their participation in decision-making/taking processes and community leadership, the possible revision of the way bishops are chosen, and the norms for the relationship between bishops and the religious orders working in their dioceses.

That Pope Francis did not wait until the end of the second assembly to convoke the study groups, “shows that he has a heart that listens; he listened and is acting”, Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary-general of the Synod, told reporters yesterday.

Pope Francis approved the 10 groups and their topics. He asked the groups, coordinated by different offices of the Roman Curia, to make a preliminary report to the Synod’s second assembly in October and to give him a final report on their work by June 2025.

Msgr Piero Coda, secretary general of the International Theological Commission, a papally-appointed body that serves the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the groups “certainly” will discuss specific issues such as the possibility of women deacons, the involvement of laypeople in the choice of bishops and a greater acceptance of LGBTQ+ Catholics.

In a letter to Cardinal Grech, released yesterday, Pope Francis said that with the study groups working on issues “requiring in-depth study,” members of the synodal assembly in October will be able “to focus more easily on the general theme that I assigned to it at the time, and which can now be summarised in the question: ‘How to be a synodal Church in mission?’”


Pope sets up groups to study most controversial issues raised at Synod (By Cindy Wooden, CNS)


Pope Francis indicates ten themes for Synod Study Groups (Vatican News)