New Synod Document Discusses Clergy Abuse, Women’s Ordination, Other Former ‘Taboo’ Topics

A recently released document that is part of the Vatican synod contained discussions of topics formerly considered taboo by the Roman Catholic Church leadership. These included clergy sexual abuse allegations, ordination of women into priesthood, and LGBTQ relationships.

What the Synodal Document Contains

According to the National Catholic Reporter, the Vatican issued the 45-page document titled “Enlarge the space of your tent” on Oct. 27. 

The document contained a discussion of various topics that formed part of the “listening sessions” among the Catholic faithful throughout 2021 and up to the current year.

The Synodal document touched on topics that reflect the present mindset of the Vatican over issues once deemed taboo.

The article bared that the document will serve as a blueprint for future continental ecclesiastical meetings for the next half of the year. 

The meetings will come before the scheduled twin assemblies in Rome in October 2023 and 2024.

“What emerges is a profound re-appropriation of the common dignity of all the baptized. This is the authentic pillar of a synodal Church and the theological foundation of a unity which is capable of resisting the push toward homogenization. This enables us to continue to promote and make good use of the variety of charisms that the Spirit with unpredictable abundance pours out on the faithful,” the document read.

The NCR report said that 30 advisors produced the document following a two-week gathering in Italy from the latter part of September to early October.

Most of the participants were lay Catholics, the website bared.

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Calls for Change in Church Teachings, Practices

The document reportedly includes voices calling for changes in the Church’s practices and teachings.

Some of the topics detailed in the document were once the source of investigations and censures during the time of former Pope Benedict XVI and St. John Paul II.

“Among those who ask for a more meaningful dialogue and a more welcoming space we also find those who, for various reasons, feel a tension between belonging to the Church and their own loving relationships, such as: remarried divorcees, single parents, people living in a polygamous marriage, LGBTQ people, etc.,” it said.

The Synodal document also quoted a report from the U.S., which urged the Church not to become “an institution for the perfect,” but to be welcoming to those who are “wounded and broken.”

“They want the Church to meet people wherever they are, to walk with them rather than judge them, and to build real relationships through caring and authenticity, not a purpose of superiority,” the report added.

Additionally, the document discussed the “inequality” between the roles given to men and women inside the Church.

“Women remain the majority of those who attend liturgy and participate in activities, men a minority; yet most decision-making and governance roles are held by men. It is clear that the Church must find ways to attract men to a more active membership in the Church and to enable women to participate more fully at all levels of Church life,” the document noted.

It also mentioned Catholics wanting to give women places in the Church’s governance structure, including priesthood ordination, preaching, and entrusting diaconate roles.

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