Home Christian News Toned-Down Synod Document Backs Female Leadership, but Not as Deacons

Toned-Down Synod Document Backs Female Leadership, but Not as Deacons

The document urged acceptance and embrace of diverse communities in the church more generally, calling for greater lay participation, accessible liturgies and the welcoming of marginalized groups. The document also asked that language and images used in churches be “more inclusive.”

Synod participants were asked to strengthen the role of councils of lay and religious people that assist parish priests in managing the community. “This is one of the most promising areas on which to act for a swift implementation of the synodal proposals and orientations, leading to changes with an effective and rapid impact,” the document read.

The authors of the document appear to recognize that the financial and clerical abuse scandals of recent years have tarnished the church’s reputation, and they call for more scrutiny of local churches to ensure transparency and accountability, suggesting that laypeople with experience in financial planning and audits be more involved. To combat abuse, the authors proposed that Catholic congregations explain how they have implemented safeguards.

All these issues, the “Intrumentum Laboris” said, could be better dealt with through closer collaboration between dioceses and the national bishops’ conferences.

If the Vatican can’t solve the most contentious disagreements in the church, the latest document seemed to project a softer approach on these issues. “Sure, there have been tensions and conflicts,” said the Rev. Giacomo Costa, special secretary of the synod, adding that “the church is not homogeneous but harmonious.”

“It would be nice if everyone,” Costa said at Tuesday’s news conference, “were able to put harmony first, and not ideas, ideologies or interests, that end up destroying what we claim we want to preserve.”

This article originally appeared here.