Respondents in three nations want more inclusive Church

Auxiliary Bishop Michael Router of Armagh, Northern Ireland (second from right), with members of the steering committee at the launch of the national synthesis of the Church in Ireland at Knock Shrine, August 16 (CNS/John McElroy, Archdiocese of Armagh)

Catholics on two different continents want more inclusion, including of women and LGBTQ Catholics, more adult faith formation and help with engaging young adults. Source: Crux.

The Vatican set a deadline of August 15 for dioceses and Eastern Catholic churches to release syntheses of the listening sessions set up as part of preparation for the 2023 Synod of Bishops on synodality.

In the listening phase, members of parishes, dioceses, religious orders and Catholic movements were asked to consider the ways in which they currently experience the Church as “synodal”, that is, as a community that walks together, and to suggest ways to strengthen that in practice.

In responses from Australia, New Zealand and Ireland, several common themes emerged.

Among other points mentioned in the Irish synthesis, “There was a clear, overwhelming call for the full inclusion of LGBTQI+ people in the Church, expressed by all ages and particularly by the young and by members of the LGBTQI+ community themselves.”

A report from the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference said: “It hurts to see family members and friends leaving the Church because they feel they are unacceptable because of gender issues, being divorced and remarried, or in a same-sex relationship.”

Australians, too, commented on the need for inclusion, although the national report noted that “the nature of consultations through surveys and group discussions generally favours respondents who are well-educated, more affluent members of the Church and those who are keen to make their opinions known.”

In Ireland, the role of women was a persistent theme in the discussions at parish and diocesan level. Some Australians and New Zealanders called for the language used at Mass and other Church ceremonies to be revised.

The Vatican Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops will use the synthesised reports from bishops conferences around the world to develop the working document to guide continental or regional ecclesial assemblies that will take place by March 2023.


How to make the church synodal? Inclusion, say respondents in 3 countries (CNS via Crux

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