Pope Francis has called a Bishops’ Synod in the autumn of 2023 to look at what it means to “walk together” as the people of God. Its first stage of preparation began this October with the local (diocesan) phase, which is described as “consultation and participation of the People of God” and ends in April 2022.
In the fuller guidance, it is noted, “The entire People of God shares a common dignity and vocation through Baptism. All of us are called in virtue of our Baptism to be active participants in the life of the Church. […] “the Synodal Process is no longer only an assembly of bishops but a journey for all the faithful, in which every local Church has an integral part to play.” This process is described as a listening process, that should especially include “those at the margins, discerning the signs of the times.”
The RCC WG group of the European Forum has met in October to consider how we can all engage with this process. Even though there is a Vademecum that describes the synodal process in some details, we acknowledged that there is not a lot of concrete information about the process on the diocese level yet available. But we expect this to happen in the next weeks in most countries.
The voices of LGBTQ Catholics have been marginalised and silenced in the past in many ways. The guidance is clear that the baptised are to be encouraged to participate and that they (as equals in the process) must be listened to. The European Forum advocates for everyone’s voice being heard in the Synod.
Therefore, we want to encourage you to offer your contribution proactively to the official contact person in your diocese (wherever it is safe to do so).
We also want to gather information on your experiences, whether you have taken part, tried to take part, or not felt able to take part in the local and Diocesan phase of this three-year process.
We would like to offer some support to LGBTQ Catholics in Europe on how we engage with the Synod, in our parishes and Dioceses through a webinar on storytelling. Please reach out to us if you are willing to share what you are doing or need support with what you want to do.
The information about how it all works can be found on the Vatican website here: https://www.synod.va/
For the RCC Working Group of the European Forum of LGBT Christian Groups