Cardinal Hollerich: The Openness of the Synod ‘Will Change the Church’

At the conclusion of the Synod on Synodality, Pope Francis’ monthlong Vatican assembly, one of the meeting’s leaders said the freedom and openness experienced during the gathering will help the Church change in the future.

While sometimes people had their “knives out” over an issue during small group discussions at the Oct. 4-29 assembly, eventually, an alternative solution would be discovered, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, the synod’s relator general, said at a press briefing Oct. 28.

“To have this freedom and openness will change the Church,” he said, “and I’m sure the Church will find answers, but perhaps not the exact answer this group or that group wants to have, but answers [with which] most people could feel well and listened to.”

The Vatican gathering this month was the first of two sessions of the 16th Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. The synod delegates, which included laypeople for the first time, voted on and released a “synthesis” report to conclude the gathering. A more definitive document is expected to be released at the end of the second session of the synod in October 2024.

“The process starts, really starts, at the end of the [whole] synod,” Hollerich told journalists Saturday evening. “So even next year, I hope there will be a document that is a real document, where also some theological questions of synodality get considered and so on.”

But even the final document, he stressed, will just be “a step” of “a Church on the move.”

“And I think that’s the important thing: we move,” the cardinal added.

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