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Vatican asks bishops to invite local Protestant and Orthodox leaders to participate in synodal path

Courtney Mares   By Courtney Mares for CNA

Cardinal Kurt Koch and Cardinal Mario Grech. / Daniel Ibáñez/CNA and Diocese of Gozo via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA 4.0).

Vatican City, Jan 18, 2022 / 04:05 am (CNA).

The Vatican has issued a letter asking Catholic bishops to invite local Orthodox and Protestant leaders to participate in the diocesan stage of the two-year process leading to the 2023 Synod on Synodality.

Cardinal Mario Grech, the general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, and Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, wrote a letter together asking Catholic dioceses to embrace the “ecumenical dimension” of the synodal process.

“The dialogue between Christians of different confessions, united by one baptism, has a special place in the synodal journey,” said the letter published by the Vatican on Jan. 17.

“Indeed, both synodality and ecumenism are processes of ‘walking together.’”

Offering “some practical suggestions to ensure the ecumenical dimension of the synodal journey,” the cardinals encouraged bishops to reach out to leaders of other Christian communities in their area.

“After identifying the main Christian communities present in the area, [the bishop] should prepare and send a letter to their leaders (or better visit them personally for this purpose),” it said.

The bishops should then invite local Christian leaders to send delegates to pre-synodal diocesan meetings and submit written reflections on the questionnaire included in the preparatory documents.

National bishops’ conferences are likewise asked to invite representatives from other Christian communities and national councils of churches to participate in the synodal process.

The Synod on Synodality is a global, two-year consultative process of “listening and dialogue” that began in October 2021. The first stage is a diocesan phase expected to last until Aug. 15.

The Vatican has asked all dioceses to participate, hold consultations, and collect feedback on specific questions laid out in synod documents. At the end of the current process, a synod of bishops is scheduled to take place in Rome in October 2023 to produce a final document to advise the pope.

The letter, signed on Oct. 28, was shared in a Vatican press release on Jan. 17 ahead of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, which takes place on Jan. 18-25.

“The synodal shaping of the Catholic Church at all levels has significant ecumenical implications as it makes it a more credible dialogue partner,” it said.

“Finally, the synodal process itself is an opportunity to further foster ecumenical relationships at all levels of the Church, since the participation of ecumenical delegates has become the customary practice, not only in the Synod of Bishops, but also in diocesan synods.”

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  1. With all due respect, if I cared for the protestant opinion, I would be protestant. The self inflicted damage that the Church is going through is due to a greater concern for feelings then doctrine. A greater concern for opinion then sacrament.
    God gave us one Church, all other are fallen away. Once we embrace that Truth then others will follow and desire Catholicism.

    • Exactly!!! I converted from protestant and have never regretted it, but now this all so sad the sad lonely road the church seems bent on going down when mass attendees have been dropping like flies!!!! The answer is not to be like everyone else trying to blend in with the culture and the times of the day!!!! The Church is to be what Jesus called it to be 2,000 years ago, not embraced homosexuality, transgenderism and now people outside the faith!!! Wow!!

      If I gave a flying rip what Protestants think I would never have converted and go through the shunning from my family!!!

      The Catholic Church is the Catholic Church and is to suppose to strive to be what is suppose to be and has been for 2000 years!!!!

      I trust the 2000 year old Church over a 500 year breakaway!!!!

  2. “Indeed, both synodality and ecumenism are processes of ‘walking together.’”
    This “language” is exhausting. It seems to me that they are trying to end Catholicism by making it Protestant. Is anybody at the Vatican Catholic? Is anybody at the Vatican praying to Our Lord, Jesus? If so, we would like to hear your voices, loud and clear.

    • Heidi, you will be glad to know that the Vatican has many Catholics -priests, nuns, bishops, workers and, of course, our Pope. And our Pope is a very strong believer in the power and beauty of prayer.
      “Each time we join our hands and open our hearts to God, we find ourselves in the company of anonymous saints and recognized saints who pray with us and who intercede for us as older brothers and sisters who have preceded us on this same human adventure.”
      “Pope Francis tells us to make prayer a daily habit. He says, “Every day God passes and sows a seed in the soil of our lives” (22). If we are not in the habit of regular prayer, we will miss that seed.” Read more here:

  3. A simple observation and a simpler question…

    First, from an alleged pyramidal Church to a proposed inverted pyramid, this sleight of hand rather than real collegiality as the relationship between the college of bishops and the papacy (Lumen Gentium, Chapter 3, and the Prefatory Note)–better described not as a pyramid at all but as an ellipse with two centers. Then, flippantly, from the false pyramid to an equally false inverted pyramid resembling little more than a block party.

    Second, how is anyone to tell the difference between the “universal call to holiness” as allegedly identical to the sensus fidei, and fluid synodality as spreading out into a flat-earth plebiscite?

    • Hopefully, spreading out taking the Holy Spirit of God with it. This is what many good Catholics all over the world are praying for.

  4. I did say elsewhere that it was heavily in his favor that Pope Francis would eventually get something right. This is not one.

  5. Please read “within 2 years”. That is the video declaration from Poland’s Vigano: Holy Archbishop Lenga. I say Goly, because he has not spent the last 9 years as a fugitive from Argentina.

  6. Is this so we can learn that women priests are nice and cordial so that we will accept them? Is this so we can learn that the woman priest marries homosexuals and that the weddings are delightful? Therefore so shall we? As for the transgender pastors of other denomination, they are also acceptable and work hard so we must also now accept them too.
    And I thought that the synod process was to hear the voice of the lowly ones in the Church–not the voice of those outside the church. Clever the ways of those who want great changes in the church.

  7. “Oh, the pathos of it! – haggard, drawn into fixed lines of unutterable sadness, with a look of loneliness, as of a soul whose depth of sorrow and bitterness no human sympathy could ever reach. The impression I carried away was that I had seen, not so much the President of the United States, as the saddest man in the world” (George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo).
    At moments like this I can translate Saunders Lincoln as Christ peering down at the shambles made of his Church.

  8. This is sheer lunacy. The main line Protestant communions are dead and they are the only ones who would participate in this idiocy. Does some kook in the Vatican think that an evangelical church (all of which have underlying disgust with Catholicism and it’s dogmas is willing to participate? We’re not on the same planet. Goof balls

  9. A mode of ecclesial suicide. What interest does any convicted Protestant have in authentic Roman Catholicism? Be honest. If such concern was present they would be in the process of conversion.
    This is simply sinful.

  10. it occurs to me that we should be looking inward – at our own awareness as a faith community, of the faith we profess. Our whole experience in this regard has been tarnished in recent years the reference to which need not be added here. It’s difficult for me to see how an exchange with protestant religious leaders is going to help us or for that matter, the church itself and its mission. When I see young people passed the first communion and confirmation stage offer a glazed look about basic principles of our faith I feel handing them a Baltimore Catechism would be a proper act, that’s my concern – we don’t know who we are! I pray the Holy Spirit is indeed with us in this synodal effort but Im not so sure He
    is yet on board if we inject such outside influence as criteria for conducting the synod…..perhaps someone else might express this concern better than I.

  11. Well, from Bergoglio’s point of view, at least he can be sure that the Protestants in attendance will not be frequenters of the Latin Mass.

    Or, as Forrest Gump’s Mama used to say, “Synod is as synod does.”

      • Every opinion expressed by these CATHOLICS resound with the truth truth truth that has been denied by the CATHOLIC hierarchy for more then 50 years, We are Roman Catholics not protestant. OUR ANCESTORS WERE MARTYRED TO KEEP US CATHOLIC! let the protestants return to the true faith. AMEN!

  12. Interfaith/intercommunion dialogue on matters pertaining to natural law from an Aristotelian (i.e., reason-based) perspective — the area of the Church’s social teaching — is laudatory and even at times essential. Discussions of doctrine and internal administrative affairs of the Church with other faiths and sects is pointless and harmful in the extreme as it can lead to confusing the natural and the supernatural orders, the essence of modernism.

    • Yes, such “interfaith/intercommunion dialogue” does occur. We laity know it by better by banter, making nice, being friendly, helping neighbors, becoming friends while musing at the water cooler, shopping at the grocery store, or celebrating the Fourth at the suburban block party.

      At the Synod of all Synods? Modernist. Stupid. Deadly.

      When is the Requiem?

  13. It would be great if for once our Catholic leaders would clearly state their intentions regarding this “synodal way”. Frankly, it appears and from the Pope’s own mouth and that of his leadership, to be a way to change the Catholic Church and its teachings, principles and tradition. None of them are clearly stating their objective, rather,they “leave the objective open ended” so that anything goes as far as results. All one has to do is look at the German synodal process where those who do not want today’s Catholic Church to survive but change it to meet secular societal “wokeisms”. Remember Pope Benedicts prediction, it is coming true and will forever change the one, Holy and Catholic Church through the “synodal path”.

    • Pope Benedict XVI had already started us down this path. He knew what Vatican 2 was all about. There is an incident reported by Luke (4:25-27). “Indeed, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah when the sky was closed for three and a half years and a severe famine spread over the entire land. It was to none of these that Elijah was sent, but only to a widow in Zarephathp in the land of Sidon. Again, there were many lepers in Israel during the time of Elisha the prophet; yet not one of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.” When the people in the synagogue heard this, they were all filled with fury. They rose up, drove him out of the town, and led him to the brow of the hill on which their town had been built, to hurl him down headlong. But he passed through the midst of them and went away.”
      This is an exciting time for us. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to enrich us during this journey. In my diocese, every week in every Church prayers are said for it success.
      Here is a good article on this subject.

      • Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI supported the Reform of the Reform. Pope Francis is taking us backward to degenerate 1970s Jesuit formation but imposing it upon the rest of the Church. It’s your ultramontanism that keeps you from seeing that. We’ve gone from Ita Missa Est to Let’s Go Make a Mess.

    • In May 2021, the majority of priests in the Germany Synodal Way voted to abolish the priesthood. If that wasn’t worthy of the Most Pathetic Asininity Award, what else should we call it?

      An open-ended Synod (Mother) of all Synods, searching for amorphous meaning among the world’s peripheral trash-heaps could bring about a large-scale ‘suicide of the Catholic collective soul.’ Self-directed, self-administered. Who are we to judge whether this outcome has not been set (?unwittingly?) from the get-go?

      The Catholic Church – its foundation and its Head – needs no reform. Jesus’ perfect salvific way involved penitential, sacrificial service to His Father first and neighbor next. Rejecting His Way as it was, is, and always will be, has always led to man’s regret and sorrow. We surely must pray for fools and unwise Church leaders led by diabolic illusion.

  14. This is a great idea! If we cannot water down the faith by ourselves, we can ask for assistance from the Protestants who have almost 500 years of experience in eliminating tenets of the faith and forming their own “churches.”

  15. If the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and its Orthodox Church want to join in a Synodal Way, then they should do so with the objective to improve catechisis for all in simple terms. Not in the terms they use when they speak,for the words they and theologians use on regular basis are”empty” to 95% of Catholics. Our catachesis is poor and has been for years,their pronouncements about everything from abortion to vaccines to marriage to LGBQT+ to sin to virtually everying that is the basis of Jesus Christ Church is tearing our church apart. Now we are to “invite” non-Catholic’s into the “synodal path”, for what purpose to tell us why it is wrong to pray the Rosary, why we fail to read the Bible as they do?, so that we can “change” to be more ecumenical? Sadly, we have enough Cardinals and Bishops already undertaking that task by suspending and removing priests from their parishes. Now we are to “move together in the synodal path” with our brethren in other religions (or non-religions) who “supposedly worship the same God”. Seriously, wonder why the Catholic faithful are confused, fail to return to the sacraments and Holy Mass,wonder why so manyleave….it is not about not being Synodal, meaning giving “Power to the laity”, rather it is because our Catholic leaders have failed to lead us in the Spirit of Christ.

    • David writes: “Our catachesis is poor and has been for years, their pronouncements about everything from abortion to vaccines to marriage to LGBQT+ to sin to virtually everything that is the basis of Jesus Christ Church is tearing our church apart.”

      “…tearing our Church apart?” Not at all! Instead, ambiguous/duplicitous catechesis, with mutually contradictory synods (?), would render the Bride of Christ an up-to-date, time-share condo! Ecclesial open marriage! Or, old-time polygamy! A half-way house to the cosmopolitan model offered by very sectarian Islam–which fancies itself still united, as a “[very] congregational theocracy.”

      A congregational catholicism (lower case), rather than the Eucharistic Church?

  16. Mention should also have been made of the need to involve commissars from the CCP. That was probably considered so obvious that there was no need to state it. The main thing, though, is to exclude those nasty Traditionalists, who all have cooties.

  17. The church hierarchy has done enough damage trying to make the church modern and relevant and appealing to non-catholics. The church was at the height of it’s influence on the public and it’s OWN adherents during the 1940’s and 50’s. Ask yourself what has changed? And has it been a change for the better, with non-attendance at Mass soaring, revenues falling and too many Priests accused of sexual misconduct, a terrible sin and a cause of many a diocese going bankrupt.” Anything goes” does not work and it is not true church teaching. Now we want to know what Protestants think about us and our operation of the church? I dont think so. Have the ugly and non-inspirational stripped down churches attracted more believers? NO. I have Protestant family and friends and I love them dearly. But I have no interest in how they view our church beliefs. I already know what they think. In general, one need only go online to see the nasty and accusatory statements made by some “Christians” against the Catholic church ( and Mary) . The fact that most of their accusations are in error has nothing to do with the dislike behind it. Too many Catholic Priests want to pretend they are Protestants, for reasons of their own.Let’s not encourage the trend.

  18. Just another way of turning the Catholic Church completely Protestant. Women priest’s. Soon we will have to go underground.

  19. Sounds like the Vatican is working towards a one world, very generic church. Will we recognize the Catholic Church when the synod is over?

      • Succeed in what? Water down the faith? Give a platform for the heterodox to publicly promote their errors? In that, it would be better for this trainwreck Synod to fail miserably and be forgotten as the waste of time and resources it is.

        • Succeed in its mission to keep the living Church moving, growing, responding to the times and sill nourishing itself with the fruits provided by the Hoily Spirit. Is this not what living things do – as against non-living things?

      • Believe me, Mal, I had faith in plenty Parish Council mini synods with small group discussions. As G Raff in post above states –“What a Crock!” 25 years later things have only deteriorated. When the BASICS are relegated to the basement and environmentalists, Luther, liturgical dancers, latent population controllers and immodestly dressed people are let lose in the sanctuary, it takes a lot of faith to hang on.

        Just a question—-how many of the pastors still pray the Liturgy of the Hours?
        This proposed Synod is slated to bring the rotten fruit that the infamous RENEW
        program brought. Glad I ignored that one!

        And the children make bracelets in CCD classes.

  20. Let us water down Catholicism until there is nothing left but a memory, Homeopathic Catholic.
    Post conciliar ecumenism is Luther’s curse.

  21. Effectively, the Holy Roman Catholic Church has ceased to proselytize. The other reformation ecclesial communities have not. The Church is now fair game for protestant and neo protestant «poachers», as their exponential growth in Latin America and East Asia attests. The post Vat2 decline in Europe set that ecumenical juggernaut on its course.
    Orthodoxy is also also troubled by the phenomenon albeit in the Moscow Patriarchate the attitude is markedly less indulgent than in the once extensive domains of the onetime Patriarch of the West.
    A united world religion? Like global empire the dream of many troubled soul.

  22. This synodallying or synodal-lying or synodal Eing or syno-dallying around really is a puzzle.

    -What can we discover that we weren’t instructed to do by Our Lord?
    -What can we turn up, new, that isn’t already laid down in the Deposit of Faith, in Tradition, in the Holy Mysteries, in scripture?
    -What can we learn, that is so momentous by holding synods around the world, with small group discussions following such an icy format?
    -Is taking time away from being faithful to our own vocations justified, just so that we can bat around ideas that have already been instilled in our hearts as is written in Veritatis Splendor, as is expounded by our Blessed Lord in the Sermon on the Mount, as is given to the children at Fatima (prayer, sacrifice, penance) etc.


    Is this entire synod dallying thing a year of practiced distraction from carrying out our own calling, which is sacrificial if lived faithfully?

    It seems reasonable that embracing our own vocation fervently, practicing the theological virtues sincerely, is the most powerful, fruitful means by which we can be the salt of the earth, the light of evangelization.

    Being called to the ordained ministry, consecrated life, single dedication or the married state each have unique hallmarks, graces for building the Body of Christ.
    Do we not, in fulfilling our calling, faithfully, working together, work out our own salvation and aid in the salvation of others?

    -What actually do we gain for The Kingdom if we distract ourselves from our calling?
    -Doesn’t living our vocation faithfully, produce the greatest fruit for the salvation of souls?
    -Isn’t the living out of our own vocation faithfully the greatest example that we can give to our immediate surroundings and the world at large?

    1 Corinthians
    Chapter 2
    When I came to you, brothers, proclaiming the mystery of God,* I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.a
    For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.b
    I came to you in weakness* and fear and much trembling,
    and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive (words of) wisdom,* but with a demonstration of spirit and power,c
    so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.d

  23. A couple weeks ago, at the Prayers of the Faithful Intercessions we were invited to pray for the “peace” of which Luther dreamed. Howdya like dem apples for a lead-in to the parish synodal discussions?

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  1. Vatican asks bishops to invite local Protestant and Orthodox leaders to participate in synodal path – Via Nova Media
  2. Vatican asks bishops to invite local Protestant and Orthodox leaders to participate in synodal path – Catholic World Report – The Old Roman

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