CNA Newsroom, Aug 16, 2022 / 09:02 am (CNA).
On Monday, the Swiss Bishops’ Conference published a document for the upcoming Synod on Synodality in Rome reporting the Catholic Church was seen as suffering from clericalism —as well as “denying equality to women” and excluding “people with LGBTQ identity.”
“Several official church positions on the role of women in church and society, on sexuality and lifestyles are perceived as pejorative and exclusionary,” the Swiss report said according to CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.
“The Synodal Assembly of Switzerland, held on May 30, 2022, in Einsiedeln Abbey, finalized the report based on comments and requests for adjustments,” the bishops explained.
“This assembly had the task of combining the reports that emerged from the diocesan phase of the synod into an overall national report.”
The document says nothing about the number of participants in the surveys that were to be part of the worldwide synodal process.
In Germany, the “number of faithful who participated in the survey on the World Synod of Bishops in the dioceses” had been only “in the lowest single-digit percentage,” reported CNA Deutsch.
“In Switzerland, the debates and the synodal questionnaires raised awareness of the importance of baptism for the life of the Church,” the bishops said.
“It was emphasized that a synodal church increasingly recognizes ‘the royal, priestly and prophetic dignity and vocation’ of the baptized.”
Two points, in particular, were emphasized, namely “overcoming the experience that many people are excluded from full participation in the life of the church” and a critical examination “of the clericalism that still exists in some places.”
The report also said synodality would only succeed once “clericalism is overcome and an understanding of the priesthood increasingly develops as an element that promotes the life of a more synodically oriented church.”
On clericalism, the 11-page report said: “Criticism of the exercise of power by ministers is ignited by observations of clerical mentality, abuse of power, ignorance of the realities of life and culture in Switzerland, devaluation of women and rejection of people from the LGBTQ spectrum, retreat into individual identity notions of being a priest, lack of attention to people, disinterest in the poor, etc.”
In another section, the report also cites minority votes. These are mainly aimed at “questioning the need for a synodal culture for the Catholic Church, not changing the role of priests and the current hierarchical shape of the Church, limiting the influence of lay men and women in the Church, and more preservation and promotion of traditional forms of liturgy, especially the ‘extraordinary form.'”
Pope Francis announced a Synod on Synodality in March 2020 to “provide an opportunity for the entire People of God to discern together how to move forward on the path towards being a more synodal Church in the long-term.”
The process to prepare the synod started with consultations at the diocesan level in October 2021. A continental phase is scheduled to commence in March 2023, according to the Synod on Synodality’s website. The final and universal phase will begin with the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, on the theme “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” at the Vatican in October 2023.
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