RELIGION: Catholics express desire for a more welcoming, inclusive Church

By Brendan Walsh

The Church is advancing along the synodal way. And from every quarter of the universal Church, one message above all others seems to be emerging from this exercise in patient listening to the Holy Spirit through the voices of the faithful.

“There is almost unanimous affirmation that women love the Church deeply, but many feel sadness because their lives are often not well understood, and their contributions and charisms not always valued,” according to the working document for the next stage on the synodal path, released by the Vatican this morning.

Journalist Christopher Lamb reports in this week’s magazine that in this summary of reports from national bishops’ conferences, Catholics repeatedly express their desire for a more welcoming, inclusive Church that eradicates the misuse of power.

In one of its most powerful passages, the report cites a submission from the International Union of Superiors General, which represents religious sisters, which declares that “sexism in decision-making and Church language is prevalent in the Church” and that women religious are sometimes undervalued or viewed as “cheap labour”.

Pope Francis, pictured here, who will be 86 in December, has now extended the synodal process by a further year, until October 2024.

The sense is growing that synodality is here to stay, and that the faithful are finding  their voice; nothing is going to silence them until that voice is heard and listened to.

Brendan Walsh is editor of The Tablet

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