Call for ‘radical inclusion’ in new Synod document

The Vatican released its continental synodal document today, which lays out the contributions to the synodal process so far.

The document, entitled ‘Enlarge the space of your tent’, emphasises the inclusion of women within the Church, but also young people, the poor, and people who identify as LGBT.

Officially called the DCS (Document for Continental Stage), the report summarises submissions from bishops’ conferences, religious congregations, and other groups from across the Catholic Church for use during the continental stage of the synod.

A recurrent theme in the document is the place of women in the church.

“The Church faces two related challenges: 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,” the document states. “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 describes the liturgy and access to communion as ‘knots of conflict’ in the Church.

It also states that there is a ‘diversity of opinion’ on the ordination of women to the priesthood.

Included in the document is a call for the structural reform of the Church at all levels in order to incorporate synodality.

However, the report stated that structures alone ‘are not enough: there is a need for ongoing formation to support a widespread synodal culture’.

The document noted that several national reports called for the ‘establishment of synodality agents and teams.’

The report presents three issues for the Continental Assemblies to reflect upon, including the experience and reality of the Church in each continent, its particular tensions, and the priorities and recurring themes the Church shares across continents.

Although the report focuses on many of the issues that came up in the Scottish submission it is not explicitly mentioned.

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