The October 2023 Assembly of the Universal Synod on Synodality has ended without concrete decisions or proposals on any of the ‘hot-button’ issues that had led to anticipation in the long lead-up to it.
On the questions of ordaining women to the diaconate, the status of LGBT+ relationships, and the possibility of priests being allowed to marry, no decisions were taken at the synod, and the resulting synthesis document continues the practice of referring these matters forward for further study. It is expected that this document will help set the agenda for the final phase of the universal synod in October 2024.
Combined with the secrecy maintained around the detail of the issues discussed over the four-week period, this lack of concrete result has led to some commentators questioning the value of the synod so far. In response the general secretary for the synod, Cardinal Mario Grech, has emphasised the importance of listening and the building of consensus.
With a minority of participants questioning whether the session was truly a ‘synod of bishops’ (given the presence of a proportion of lay people, including women) it is not yet clear if this was a factor in the writing of the final synthesis document, which some have described as ‘anodyne’.
To read the Crux News report on the conclusion of the 2023 assembly, click: