The Vatican published the complete list of participants for the October Synod on Synodality. About a third of the 364 voting delegates for the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops were chosen by Pope Francis.
According to CBCP News, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, a former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich were selected by Pope Francis. Father James Martin, an American Jesuit known for his LGBTQ outreach efforts, was also selected.
In a revolutionary move, lay people will have complete membership status and voting rights to influence the final document, which is due in October 2024. Cardinals Wilton Gregory of Washington, D.C., Paul Etienne of Seattle, Sean O’Malley of Boston, and Robert McElroy of San Diego were among the 120 delegates chosen by Pope Francis.
Also elected to the synod assembly were Cardinal Timothy Michael Dolan of New York, Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas, Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota, Bishop Kevin Rhoades of Fort Wayne-South Bend, Indiana, and Archbishop Timothy Broglio, president of the US bishops’ conference.
Throughout the month-long Vatican assembly, participants will discuss crucial topics from the recently released Instrumentum laboris. Among these topics are women deacons, clerical celibacy, LGBTQ outreach, and new institutional organizations to involve the devout in decision-making.
In the 50-page paper, a “synodal method” of spirituality emphasizes listening to the Holy Spirit and recognizing contemporary signs. It also necessitates that new formation programs provide prospective consecrated ministers with a “synodal style and mentality.”
The assembly was attended by the president of the DBK, Bishop Georg Batzing of Limburg, Bishop Franz-Joseph Overbeck of Essen, and Bishop Bertram Johannes Meier of Augsburg. Also appointed by Pope Francis were Münster Bishop Felix Genn and Passau Bishop Stefan Oster, who obstructed funding for the contentious German synodal reform process.
Sister Xiskya Valladares, known as the “tweeting nun” due to her social media activity, is one of more than 50 women who hold voting rights in the synod assembly. Sister Valladares, a Spanish scholar and journalist, co-founded iMission to promote the Church’s digital outreach.
As lay delegates, Pope Francis selected Cynthia Bailey Manns, director of adult education at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Community in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Wyatt Olivas, a young adult musician from Cheyenne, Wyoming. Enrique Alarcón Garcia, president of the Spanish Christian Fraternity of Persons with Disabilities, is a European laity delegate.
Pope-designated Cardinals Marc Ouellet, Luis Ladaria Ferrer, SJ, and scar Rodrguez Maradiaga will also be present. Joining them will be Cardinal Charles Muang Bo of Yangon, Bishop Stephen Chow of Hong Kong, and Archbishop Anthony Fisher of Sydney.
Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark will automatically become a member of the synod council, while Irish-American Cardinal Kevin Farrell will serve as a delegate for the Roman Curia.
Sister Elizabeth Mary Davis and Jesuit Superior General Arturo Sosa will also attend.
Father Timothy Radcliffe, a prominent British theologian, holds the nonvoting position of spiritual assistant for the Synod on Synodality. Before the assembly, Father Radcliffe, who commanded the Order of Preachers from 1992 to 2001, will lead a three-day retreat for all synod delegates.
Pope Francis divided the general assembly into October 2023 and October 2024 sessions. Cardinal Mario Grech, director of the synod secretariat at the Vatican, stated that the conclusions will not be reached until the second session of 2024. After the first session of this year, synod leadership will propose interim activities.
The important Synod on Synodality of the Catholic Church convened in October 2021. In 2024, the synod assembly will deliberate on a recommended final document for Pope Francis. To cement the synod’s results, the pontiff could declare the document a papal text or write his own conclusion.
Pope Francis states, “The current synod is—and should be—a journey in accordance with the Holy Spirit, not a parliament for demanding rights and claiming needs in accordance with the agenda of the world, nor an opportunity to follow wherever the wind blows, but an occasion to be submissive to the Holy Spirit’s breath.”
Jonathan Liedl of the National Catholic Register, Andrea Gagliarducci of CNA, AC Wimmer of CNA Deutsch, Rudolf Gehl of EWTN Rome, and Rachel Thomas wrote this report. (By Luis Angelo Sta. Maria/Volunteer Writer – San Felipe Neri Parish | Photo from CBCP News)