Synod Final Report Pushes Female Deacons and Lay Governance but Avoids Giving Firm Answers

he concluding document from the Synod on Synodality’s October 2023 meeting has been released, with no definitive stance taken in terms of attempts to alter Church teaching on LGBT issues or female ordination, yet containing a host of subtle but significant calls for changes to the manner of the Church’s governance and daily life.

The 41-page report was released late into the night on October 28, as the month-long session of the Synod on Synodality came to an end and participants hastily poured out of the Paul VI Audience Hall. The text’s initial version gave rise to over 1,000 amendments from synod members, according to synod officials, meaning that such amendments had to be acted upon between Thursday night and Saturday afternoon. 

The contents of the report, as already noted by synod officials, are not meant to be a final report, nor even the text which will form the basis of the October 2024 synod meeting. Rather, as the synthesis report states, it contains the “main elements that emerged in the dialogue, prayer and discussion that characterized these days.”

“Some fear that they will be forced to change; others fear that nothing will change and that there will be too little courage to move at the pace of living Tradition,” reads Chapter 1, paragraph g. (Passed by 326 – 18)

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