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Church divided by ‘generation gap’ suggests synod report

The report on the synodal process in the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh suggests that there is a cultural divide between older Catholics who are more liberal and younger Catholics who are more conservative. 

The report summarises meetings and conversations that took place earlier this year across the Archdiocese, and quotes Dr Sara Purvis of Edinburgh University who said that the young and the Vatican II generation ‘see things very differently’.

She suggested that for young people today to be ‘Christian at all is to be effectively an everyday martyr’ which is ‘so different from what it looked like to my parent’s generation where Christianity was normal’.

Archbishop Leo Cushley said  that the ‘Holy Father’s desire to embark upon a synodal process was announced at a time when the Archdiocese of St Andrews & Edinburgh was involved in the process of renewal and deeper reflection on the sources of our identity as a Church.’

Archbishop Cushley praised Pope Francis’ initiative, saying it has ‘enriched this already ongoing and necessary process and has given it a decisive focus around the themes of communion, participation, and mission.’

The report also suggested that ‘those who expressed disagreement or reservations about some of the Church’s teachings very often were not engaging with the Church’s actual teaching,’ instead engaging with ‘negative stereotypes or even caricatures of the Church’s teaching.’

The document also states that ‘the consensus seemed to be that there should be a place for a variety of forms of worship,’ and that the Traditional Latin Mass and the Novus Ordo should be celebrated reverently and ‘warmly embraced.’

Similar to the synodal reports from other dioceses this document states ‘The role of women in the Church was raised many times’.

“There was little to no awareness, however, of the leadership roles currently held by women at the Archdiocesan level or parochial level,” it goes on. “In general, there appears to be little awareness of these, perhaps because they are less visible than the role of the archbishop or the parish priest. But, as many commented, need this necessarily be the case?”

It then dismisses calls for women priests saying that it ‘is not possible for women to be ordained’ and that ‘continued discussion of this topic therefore cannot be part of a synodal journey that is genuinely ecclesial in nature and focused on Christ as both its starting point and its goal.’

You can read the full report here and it has now been submitted to the Bishop’s Conference to form part of the national report on the Synod process.

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