Diverse perspectives emerge at Vatican Synod

The Vatican Synod assembly, a month-long event determining the Catholic Church’s future, kicked off on October 4.

As the 364 attendees gathered at 35 round tables in the grand Paul VI Audience Hall, the initial three days were an intriguing mix of experimentation and camaraderie.

“If we act like Jesus, we will testify to God’s love for the world” said Luxembourg Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich. Hollerich is one of the principal coordinators of the 2023 Synod.

“Failing to do so will make us look like an identitarian club.”

Incredible diversity

One innovative approach that took centre stage was “conversation in the Spirit,” a method that the organisers extolled for its ability to give every participant a voice, alternating between speaking and silence.

This fresh perspective stirred a range of initial reactions from the attendees.

Some were quick to praise the “incredible diversity” of the members. However, others whimsically compared the round table setup to a wedding banquet and even a cabaret.

Some seemed sceptical at the outset, with one participant remarking “Some came dragging their feet.”

However as time passed, attitudes seemed to evolve.

“Some of the bishops present had not participated in the synodal process in their own countries and came here as if they were being punished” one noted, then added “But it seems things have taken off. They understand.”

Process change

Significantly, Vatican Synod organisers pointed to establishing friendly bonds among participants with differing views.

Inside the assembly hall, discussions aim to foster a state of unity.

It is not only the ‘hot’ content of the debates but the synod forma that t is unfamiliar to Catholic bishops. These men are used to having the final word, usually in private, and sharing only what they wish.

However as Müller noted in his interview with EWTN, laypeople can vote on the church’s future, so the synod’s nature has changed.

Covid outbreak?

Earlier in the week a Vatican News article momentarily caused some confusion when it mistakenly stated that 118 synod participants had tested positive for Covid-19.

This statement was attributed to Cardinal Mario Grech, the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.

Later, Cardinal Grech clarified that only “four people” had reported testing positive for Covid.


La Croix International

Catholic News Agency

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News category: World.

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