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World

Church group wants to replace synod with assembly of Catholics

We Are Church International urges Pope Francis to make the Church participatory in the spirit of the Second Vatican Council

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Published: November 26, 2021 06:20 AM GMT

Updated: November 26, 2021 06:30 AM GMT

Church group wants to replace synod with assembly of Catholics

Pope Francis celebrates a Mass for the opening of the Synod of Bishops on Oct. 10 at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican. (Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP)

An international group of Catholic laypeople have urged Pope Francis to replace the upcoming Synod on Synodality with an assembly of Catholics to make the Church participatory.

We Are Church (WAC) International, a global coalition of national church reform groups, made the appeal as Catholics across the world participate in diocesan and regional consultations leading to the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican in October 2023.

Pope Francis kicked off the two-year global consultation in Rome on Oct. 10.

For the first time, the synod will be celebrated in a decentralized manner. It will be held not only at the Vatican but also in each church on five continents in three phases — diocesan, continental and universal.

The theme for the Synod of Bishops is “For a synodal church: communion, participation and mission.”

“Fifty years ago, the Second Vatican Council was clear: the Church is the People of God. Yet one of the most important precepts of the Second Vatican Council, synodality, has not been fully realized,” said Colm Holmes, chairperson of WAC International, in a statement sent to UCA News.

Authentic synodality, the group says, is an inclusive discerning process involving the laity and the ordained

Under Paul VI and succeeding popes, synodality was enacted through a synod of bishops — an expression of episcopal collegiality, not synodality of the whole church, he said. 
 
Authentic synodality, the group says, is an inclusive discerning process involving the laity and the ordained, and it may be one of the most important institutional reforms of Pope Francis’ pontificate.   
 
We Are Church International call for several steps to be undertaken by Pope Francis.

It advocates for Pope Francis’ call for a revolution in the structure of the Catholic Church; where radical change moves the Church from a top-down institution to an inverted pyramid with the pope and the bishops “below” and “in service to the holy faithful people of God” above so that the whole People of God may come together in authentic partnership to discern the best way forward on critical matters facing Catholics today. 

“Because synodality calls for all the People of God to be involved in decision making, We Are Church urges Pope Francis to replace the Synod of Bishops with an Assembly of all the People of God that reflects the diversity of the Church; where at least 50 percent of the assembly are women who are chosen by the laity,” Holmes added.   

Founded in Rome in 1996, We Are Church International is a reformist group committed to the renewal of the Catholic Church based on the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) and the theological spirit developed from it.

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