Catholic Synod Begins
Pope Francis opened a gathering of Roman Catholic delegates today in Vatican City to discuss the future of the Catholic Church and how it can be more consultative in its governance. The assembly is part of the Synod on Synodality, an initiative Pope Francis launched in October 2021 and the most extensive since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s.
This synod marks the first time laypeople, including women, have been granted voting rights. The topics under discussion—many previously considered off-limits—include the elevation of women in ministry, welcoming of divorced individuals and the LGBTQ+ community into the church, and priest celibacy and marriage.
The perception of the synod is divided among Catholics, with some hoping for sweeping reforms while others worry about potential breaches of established doctrine. Francis has historically sought to create a more inclusive church that respects all expressions of faith across the globe.
The synod will run through Oct. 28 with 365 voting members, 54 of whom are women. A second session will happen next year; no immediate changes are expected. See how a synod runs here.