Texas bishop, Japanese feminist nun among 7 named to preparatory commission for October Synod of Bishops
March 16, 2023
Cardinal Mario Grech, the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, has established a preparatory commission for the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which will convene in October 2023 and again in October 2024.
The seven members of the preparatory commission are
- Father Giacomo Costa, SJ (coordinator)
- Msgr. Tomasz Trafny (secretary)
- Archbishop Timothy Costelloe, SDB, of Perth (Australia)
- Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville (Texas)
- Bishop Lucio Muandula of Xai-Xai (Mozambique)
- Father Dario Vitali, a theology professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University
- Sister Shizue Hirota, MMB (Japan)
Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, of Luxembourg, the Relator General of the Synod, will participate in the preparatory commission’s work. In February 2022, Cardinal Hollerich characterized Catholic teaching on homosexuality as “false.”
Pope Francis’s 2018 apostolic constitution Episcopalis Communio provides that “for further exploration of the theme and for the redaction of any documents that may be issued prior to the Synod Assembly, the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops may avail itself of a Preparatory Commission, made up of experts. This Commission is appointed by the General Secretary of the Synod, who chairs it.”
Father Costa (Twitter), the preparatory commission’s coordinator, was special secretary for the 2018 synod on youth and communications secretary for the 2019 Amazon synod. As consultor to the Synod of Bishops, he is already an influential synod official, and he has written extensively on recent synods (La Civiltà Cattolica, Thinking Faith).
Msgr. Trafny (LinkedIn), the preparatory commission’s secretary, is a Polish priest and former head of the faith and science department at the Pontifical Council for Culture. According to his LinkedIn page, he became an official of the Synod of Bishops last month.
Archbishop Costelloe is president of the Australian bishops’ conference and was president of Fifth Plenary Council of Australia.
Bishop Flores (Twitter) was elected chairman of the US bishops’ Committee on Doctrine in 2020 and coordinated the synod process in the United States. He discussed synodality in an October 2022 interview with The Pillar.
Bishop Muandula has served as president of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique and president of the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA). He is currently the First Vice President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) and has been active in the African synod process.
In a 2019 article (“Women and the Catholic Church: People of God vs. Hierarchical Church“), Sister Hirota wrote:
I don’t think that the “feminism” Pope Francis [criticizes] exists anywhere in today’s world. Feminism believes in God, who is Father and Mother. Feminism is our way of living so as to follow Jesus. God created the first human being as “man and woman” in God’s Image (Imago Dei, Betselem Elohim) as noted in Genesis 1:27, and again, first as the ungendered “the earthling,” ha adam—from adamah, “earth,” as Genesis 2:7 tells us. We are to incarnate the image of God that is revealed in masculinity and femininity to be present in a world where life frequently is not prioritized. We participate in God’s creative work to love the hurting world to heal, liberate, and nurture the planet and human beings. The participation of women is needed to make the world a space where justice and peace are possible. Feminism means this conviction and way of life!
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Posted by: dover beachcomber -
Mar. 16, 2023 6:56 PM ET USA
Sister Hirota is wrong. The only thing necessary to make the world a place “where peace and justice are possible” is not any form of feminism; it’s a change of heart in all people, leading them to repentance, belief in Jesus Christ, and membership in His One Holy Catholic Church.