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Sunday, October 04, 2015

The synod: and so it begins

[...] Few events in contemporary church life have been as hotly anticipated as this month's synod on the family. The global meeting of Catholic bishops is in many ways an incredible attempt to bring together the universal church's rich diversity in one place to discuss pressing issues of our time. More than half of voting participants of the Oct. 4-25 Synod of Bishops come from the global South. Francis' appointments represent a breadth of theological diversity.

There is, however, one glaring exclusion: Not a single woman has a vote. For a synod convened to discuss struggles faced by families, that is particularly appalling. Several women have been appointed as auditors (able to listen and occasionally join in discussions) and collaborators (to provide expert advice to members), but those are non-voting roles. Three women religious serve in non-voting roles, while the 10 delegates from male religious orders all get votes.

The synod is, of course, a meeting of bishops, so it's not women as such who are barred from voting, it's non-bishops. And that's the trap. One can't be a bishop unless one is first a priest. And women can't be priests. That door, we know well, is shut.

When asked about women in the church, Francis ardently calls for women to have a more "incisive presence" in the church, calling them in a recent Wednesday catechesis not just needed but necessary.

Yet he bars the door for their entry to the halls that will discuss issues of great need .......

This excerpt from an editorial at National Catholic Reporter is just one example of why I don't have much interest in or hope for the Synod of Bishops on the family which has begun today.

Not only is almost everyone invited male, but also almost everyone invited is a conservative. And even those few who are considered liberals, like Cardinal Kasper, have no intention of changing doctrine but want instead to offer "mercy" to those of us whose lived experience is miles away from those doctrines.

The thing is that many Catholics around the world who disagree with church doctrine (those in Ireland, Japan, Germany and Switzerland, the UK, and Belgium) don't need or what mercy, but instead want the church to be humble enough to re-examine it's failed teachings.


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