by Jessica Easthope
For two years Catholics around the globe gave their input, and now issues that have been off limits for generations of Church leaders, are on the table.
The Synod on Synodality puts forth questions in an effort to make the Catholic Church a more welcoming and collaborative institution. Some of those questions regarding women in decision-making roles, the blessing of same-sex unions, and married priests have caused media speculation. A factor Pope Francis says is unwelcome in the process, citing how it interfered in past synods.
“With the synod on the family, there was public opinion that came not from our worldliness to give Communion to divorcees and that is how we started the synod,” Pope Francis said. “With the Amazon synod, there was public opinion and pressure to make ‘viri probati.’ We started with this pressure. Now there are some hypotheses about this synod, but what are they going to do here: Maybe women priesthood? I don’t know these things that are said outside.”
For the first time in history, women and laypeople are full participants in the synod. The Holy Father said the meeting is an opportunity for true discernment, one that was widely called for.
“It is not easy, but it is beautiful,” Pope Francis said. “It is very beautiful. A synod that all the bishops of the world wanted. In the survey that was done after the Amazon synod to all the bishops of the world, the second place preference was this one.”
Members are forbidden to record, film, or disclose their interventions in synod issues in both general sessions and small group discussions.