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Pope will allow lay voters at Synod of Bishops

April 26, 2023

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CWN Editor's Note: Pope Francis has changed the rules of the Synod of Bishops to give votes to non-bishops, including male and female religious and lay people.

The Pope will appoint 70 voting members to the Synod. Half of these delegates will be women, and the appointments will be designed to give a greater voice to young Catholics.

In all, 21% of the participants at the October meeting of the Synod will not be bishops, said Cardinal Mario Grech, the secretary-general of the Vatican’s Synod office.

The appointment of voting delegates who are not bishops, for a meeting of the Synod of Bishops, represents a dramatic change—particularly since bishops, as successors to the apostles, bear a special charism for leadership in the Church. But Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, who will be the relator general for the October meeting, denied that the change is radical. “It’s an important change; it’s not a revolution,” he said.

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  • Posted by: feedback - Apr. 27, 2023 6:35 AM ET USA

    This is a very strange setup: a rule by extremely authoritarian pope mixed up with some pretense of "democracy." I wouldn't be surprised if the "lay voters" were "randomly" hand picked by Francis to fit his specific agendas. However, in the end of the day, the responsibility before God for the Church is still on Francis and the bishops. As a life-long Catholic - by the grace of God - I don't see any point of doing this.