~ by Dennis Sadowski, Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON (CNS) – Catholics across the country continue to feel wounded by the clergy abuse crisis, seek a more welcoming church in which their “lived reality” is prioritized over rules and regulations, and desire lifelong spiritual, pastoral and catechetical formation as disciples according to a report synthesizing the 10-month synodal process in diocese.
Participants in the process also expressed concern that the U.S. Catholic Church is deeply divided and that a lack of unity exists among the bishops; spoke of a desire to “accompany with authenticity” LGBTQ+ individuals and their families, and voiced hope that lay people’s gifts would be more widely utilized in a spirit of collaboration throughout the church, the report said.
Released September 19 by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the report summarized the concerns, hopes, pains and desires voiced by an estimated 700,000 participants who joined thousands of listening sessions and other events during the diocesan phase in the lead-up to the Synod of Bishops on synodality in October 2023.
There are roughly 66.8 million Catholics in the U.S. according to the report, meaning more than 1% of Catholics participated in the listening sessions.
The Synod’s theme is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.”
The report is the synthesis of 290 documents received by the USCCB from various contributors. The report said the documents “represent over 22,000 reports from individual parishes and other groups.
The report is divided into four themes: “Enduring Wounds,” “Enhancing Communion and Participation,” “Ongoing Formation for Mission” and “Engaging Discernment.” Each section summarized common observations raised in the listening sessions.
The synthesis report included the observation that “nearly all synodal consultations shared a deep appreciation for the powerful impact of women religious who have consistently led the way in carrying out the mission of the church.”
Participants in listening sessions expressed a “desire for stronger leadership, discernment, and decision-making roles for women – both lay and religious in their parishes and communities.” To read the entire article, please click here