Pope Opens Synod of Bishops in Rome

Pope Francis gives his homily at the Mass opening the assembly of the Synod of Bishops in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican Oct. 4, 2023. (CNS photo/Lola Gomez)

Rome | Pope Francis has on Wednesday opened the first session of the assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, a big meeting on the future of the Catholic Church.

The assembly called by the Pope to discuss the findings on the Synod of Syndality started on October 4th, 2023 and will end on the 29th.

It will be followed by a second gathering next year which will put forward detailed proposals for Pope Francis to consider in a future document.

For the first time, women and non-clergy can vote alongside bishops in what is called a Synod of Bishops. The change reflects Francis’ belief that the Church is more about its people than its leaders.

The synod will have 365 voting members including the pope and 54 women. Their numbers are chosen by national bishops’ organizations and religious orders.

In addition, there are around 100 experts and “facilitators,” who will help move the discussion along. But they will not vote on a final document.

The working document for the gathering came after two years of listening to concerns from Catholics around the world.

Among other points raised during the consultations is the responsibility of the women in the Catholic Church, issue of divorce, priestly celibacy and same sex marriages.

There will be no live stream of the gathering. Organizers say it will be a closed-door meeting.

Uganda Episcopal Conferences has been represented by the Bishop of Lira Diocese Rt. Rev. Sanctus Lino Wanok as a special delegate.

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