Discussions reveal cultural chasm between bishops, laypeople

Bishops in pain over conflict

The discussions at the Synod of Bishops have shown a clear difference in mindsets between the prelates and ordinary Catholics looking to the gathering in hopes for changes in church pastoral practice, reports NCR Online.

US Sacred Heart of Mary Sr Maureen Kelleher, participating as one of 32 women serving in non-voting roles alongside the 270 prelate-members, said there is a clear cultural divide between bishops’ and laypersons’ points of view.

“There’s such a culture here and a common background,” said Sr Kelleher. “These men have all pretty much studied together through formation and onward – [and] are very steeped in the magisterium and the canons and the different papal documents that have come out and have formed them.”

“And they're very, very – well, they're in pain, I think, to deal with the pastoral situation and reaching for particularly the remarried after divorce in a way that would be accompanying them ... and yet being faithful to their understanding of Jesus’ sentences on divorce and its consequences,” she continued.

“I am watching people who have been very formed and steeped in language and concepts really trying to reach for a way that won’t confuse us faithful laity and will be sensitive and yet be faithful to everything they believe,” said Sr Kelleher.

“I am watching a faith community in a tangle, in a knot, and I don’t know what’s going to happen when the Pope gets this product,” she said, referring to the final document the Synod is expected to write and then give to Pope Francis.

Sr Kelleher, a civil attorney, who has specialised in working with low-income clients and was a founding member of the Catholic social justice lobby group NETWORK, was speaking in a 30-minute interview on Monday about her experience serving as an auditor at the Synod.

FULL STORY US sister-auditor: Synod shows cultural divide between bishops, laypeople

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