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The Second Assembly of the Synod begins in October (Vatican News)

Growth, undeniable tensions and “a deep desire to rebuild and strengthen” the body of Christ have emerged as key themes in the latest Synod report for the Church in the United States. Source: OSV News.

Released by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops on Tuesday, the document summarises responses from more than 35,000 participants and over 1,000 listening sessions, with 76 per cent of the nation’s dioceses and eparchies submitting reports to the US Synod team.

In addition, over 350 people met in some 15 listening sessions that focused on Church life, social justice and vocations, while US bishops also met for a Synod listening session.

Ahead of the concluding session of the Synod on Synodality, which will take place in Rome from October 2-27, dioceses across the US were asked to hold additional listening sessions during Lent 2024, following a request from the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops. Those responses were incorporated into the newly released synthesis.

In his introduction to the synthesis, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas noted that “while no document could cover the full range of topics on the hearts and minds of Catholics” who took part in the listening sessions, the report showed the Synodal journey has made progress in the US.

Among their insights, many of which were directly quoted in the report, participants expressed “two basic hopes for the Church” — that it be both a “safe harbour” and a “fiery communion.”

As a “safe harbour,” the Church can be a place “where the faithful are embraced, sustained and loved,” said the synthesis, citing one respondent who observed, “People come when they are broken. … At my parish, I feel I have a family there”.

At the same time, respondents described the Church as a “fiery communion,” with the Synodal process digging up a number of tensions within the Church.

In particular, a lack of clear communication from Church hierarchy and from media, both Catholic and secular, creates confusion and division over what it means to be Catholic — and hinders the Church’s mission, said Synod participants.


Synod report for U.S. shows growth, tensions and ‘deep desire to rebuild’ the body of Christ (OSV News)