Information and exchange on the continental level of the Synod

Dear Andante Members,

I hope you have enjoyed in your country the beautiful Autumn we have had in England, and are not too depressed by the onset of dark evenings. I should like to cheer you up with some reading material for these long evenings, which is the 45 page document produced by the Holy See Synod office for the Continental Stage of the Synod!

This document referred to as the DCS summarises the results of the unprecedented listening part of the global synod and highlights the call from all continents to tackle urgently the role of women in the Catholic Church. The report states, “Women remain the majority of those who attend liturgy and participate in activities, men a minority; yet most decision-making and governance roles are held by men.” “From all continents comes an appeal for Catholic women to be valued first and foremost as baptised and equal members of the People of God. 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,” the document states. The role and vocation of women are described as a “critical and urgent area”, with the document calling for further discernment is needed on how to include women in governance roles, the possibility of preaching and the female diaconate. On the ordination of women to the priesthood, which Francis, following John Paul II, has ruled out, the report says a diversity of opinion was expressed, with some in favour and others considering it closed. Where there is a consensus, however, on the need to value the contribution of women to the Church. The report cites a submission from the International Union of Superiors General, the body representing female religious sisters, which said “sexism in decision-making and Church language is prevalent in the Church” and that women religious were sometimes undervalued or viewed as “cheap labour”.

The document for the Continental Stage suggests to pursue this process of listening, dialogue and discernment, the next stage at the Continental level will focus on three questions:

  1. After having read and prayed with the Document for the Continental Stage, which intuitions resonate most strongly with the lived experiences and realities of the Church in your continent? Which experiences are new, or illuminating to you?

2.After having read and prayed with the DCS, what substantial tensions or divergences emerge as particularly important in your continent’s perspective? Consequently, what are the questions or issues that should be addressed and considered in the next steps of the process?

  1. Looking at what emerges from the previous two questions, what are the priorities, recurring themes and calls to action that can be shared with other local Churches around the world and discussed during the First Session of the Synodal Assembly in October 2023?

Andante have arranged an international zoom evening on Monday 28th November 2022 from 17.00-19.00 GMT/18.00-20.00 CET

We are hosting this with the very generous support from the Catholic Women’s Council, CWC, who will join us.Around the three question areas the DCS have mentioned we shall have breakout groups which look at these questions, particularly from a women’s perspective. Joining with CWC will help us to be as representative as possible of all European women and create new contacts with Catholic women from European countries not previously represented by Andante. Simultaneous translation will be available in English, French, German, Spanish and Italian.

Please keep this evening free and join us, as there really seems to be a world-wide momentum growing to change the Church, eradicate the clerical misuse of power and review the role and vocation of women.

There will be more information nearer the time with the zoom link, and we really look forward to you joining us.

Here is the link for registration

With best wishes,

Sophie Rudge and Sabine Slawik

Co-chairs Andante

22.11 Flyer Andante Synod E

Prayer to accompany the Synod Document

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