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Synod Sensation: The Pope introduces celibacy and deacon ordination for …

Synod Sensation: The Pope introduces celibacy and deacon ordination for …

The Vatican’s working paper on the eagerly anticipated fall major bishops’ meeting is difficult. There are signs of more involvement for ordinary people. And the participants in the Synod, including the laity, are formally asked to discuss the hot issues that have been discussed so far – in the center of the universal Church, under the gaze of the Pope.

The Catholic Church wants to become more open and attractive. The Synod of Bishops, convening in Rome in October as part of a global, multi-year process for a more synodal church called by Pope Francis for the Church, aims to deal with issues from the real-life lives of many of its 1.4 billion members. . On Tuesday, the Vatican published the corresponding working paper, called the Working Tool. It does not contain any specific draft resolutions, but names questions to guide the discussion. For the first time, consecrated and unconsecrated believers will be given equal voting rights in the Vatican. Until now, cooperation in the global Synod of Bishops was only possible for religious bishops and hierarchs.

Another novelty is the discussion stimulated in the Synod’s Fundamental Questions on the accessibility of the deaconess, that is, to the lowest degree of ordination prior to the ordination of priests and bishops. Furthermore, stronger participation of women in managerial and responsible positions should be discussed. The same applies to the participation of disorganized church members and potential new offices – also at the local level.

Ordination of priests for married couples?

Questions indicate the possibility of reviewing already existing offices; This also includes the possible exceptions to celibacy among priests. Reasons: On the one hand, many believers have expressed concern about the loneliness of priests, and on the other hand, there are regions where there are very few ministers. The solution could be the ordination of married men to the priesthood, or the taking of unprepared Catholics into a parish. According to the working paper, this should also be discussed. Finally, the training of potential clergy must be changed in order to put an end to the clergy.

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Instead of force and control, the attitude of service should be strengthened among officials in general, and an atmosphere of transparency, encouragement, inclusiveness, and cooperation should be created. This also applies to bishops in particular. For them, the proposed decentralization of the Catholic Church should be of particular importance – more responsibility in the regional and national church in situ, less with the pope. The synodal process must change the concept of authority – to a possible modification of canon law for greater participation.

Polygamous marriages are welcome

Opening up to as many members of the church as possible is the focus of the Work Tool. Married divorcees should be as welcome as gay people and those who live in polygamy, for example in Africa. The same applies to believers who feel less important or less desirable because of the color of their skin, their origin, or their disability. With a renewed language–in liturgy, sermons, art, and communication in all media–the Church must become more accessible and attractive.

The 71-page document deals with abuse by church officials or officials in different chapters. It is about the issue of concrete steps to achieve justice for victims and survivors. In addition to sexual abuse, spiritual, financial, power and conscientious abuse also play an obvious role.

Other topics include poverty, climate change, migration, peace and reconciliation, and the participation of young and old in the Christian community. It should also discuss deepening dialogue with Christians and other religions.

In October 2024 things will get serious

After two years of local and continental consultations, two Synods of Bishops will follow in Rome at the level of the Universal Church. The meeting in October aims primarily to deepen the proposed topics and prepare them for further treatment. A reasonable methodology should also be put in place. For this purpose, the participants meet for group work and for discussions in the plenary session.

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The aim is to identify “paths we can take together,” as mentioned in the worksheet. At the second meeting of the Synod of Bishops, scheduled for October 2024, concrete proposals will then be drawn up for the Pope, on the basis of which decisions can be made. He usually does this in what is called a post-synodal discourse. Favorite