Is Pope Francis Stacking the Deck for the Synod?

Manipulating the membership roster sets the agenda and determines the recommendations

In announcing that non-bishops would be able to vote in this fall’s Synod on Synodality, Rome tried simultaneously to hype and downplay the news. Channeling its inner Leslie Neilsen, the synodal website blandly headlined the change as “Some News for the October 2023 Assembly.” General Relator Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich gave the story further minimalist spin by saying the extension of voting to non-bishops was just the evolution of the institution, already prepared for in Francis’s 2018 Apostolic Constitution Episcopalis communion, that non-bishops will only be a fourth of the body, and, anyway, synods are only advisory.

After having assured us there’s “nothing to see here,” Hollerich then gushed on about how the change reflects evolution of the synodal process, preserves continuity of its processes, and even affords a “prophetic function of the People of God” to the Synod.

(This is the same Vatican that told us “nothing to see here” with regard to Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia’s musings about how much one could legalize the physician-assisted suicide he absolutely rejects).

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