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Synod reportedly elected conservative prelates to permanent council

October 28, 2015

Among 12 prelates elected to the council of the Synod of Bishops, several were prominent critics of the organization of this year’s Synod meeting, according to veteran Vatican journalist Sandro Magister of L’Espresso.

Magister has posted a list of the 12 members elected by the Synod. That list has not been confirmed by the Vatican. The full list of members of the Synod council—the group that will supervise the work of the Synod staff until the next Synod assembly—will be released after Pope Francis completes the roster by naming three more members.

Last week, the Synod elected 12 members: three each to represent Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Asia and Oceania. According to Magister’s report, those elected were:

  • For Africa:
    • Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship;
    • Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier of Durban, South Africa; and
    • Bishop Mathieu Madega Lebouakehan of Moulia, Gabon.
  • for the Americas:
    • Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia;
    • Cardinal Marc Ouellet, the prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; and
    • Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras.
  • for Europe:
    • Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna;
    • Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster; and
    • Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, Italy.
  • for Asia/Oceania:
    • Cardinal George Pell, prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy;
    • Cardinal Luis Tagle of Manila; and
    • Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Mumbai

The list of prelates reportedly selected by the Synod membership is significant because it includes three cardinals—Pell, Sarah, and Napier—who signed a letter to Pope Francis questioning the fairness of Synod procedures. Also, according to Magister, the leading vote-getter among all the bishops elected to the council was Archbishop Chaput, who had been highly critical of the working document presented for discussion at the October assembly.

The European cardinals elected to the council, on the other hand, were all regarded as strong advocates for the proposals that were presented in the Synod's working document.


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