Cupich and McElroy Claim its ‘Impossible to go Back’ to Synods Without Lay Voters

Two U.S. cardinals said one of the immediate results of Pope Francis’ major summit on the future of the Catholic Church is that it should now be “impossible” to return to an era where lay men and women are not given both a voice and vote in major Vatican meetings.

“It would seem to me impossible to go back now,” said San Diego Cardinal Robert McElroy on Oct. 29. “It would be wrenching to go back if you just had bishops there or just bishops voting.”

Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich concurred. He said that Catholics’ common experience of baptism means: “We all have authority, and that means that we all have something to say.”

The two cardinals spoke in an exclusive joint interview with National Catholic Reporter on Oct. 29, just hours after Francis’ celebrated the concluding Mass for the four-week Synod of Bishops.

The assembly, which discussed an enormous range of issues facing the global church, including the possibility of women serving in ordained ministry and better inclusion of LGBTQ Catholics, was the first in history where women were granted rights of full membership and voting.

The synod assembly’s closing marked the end of only the first part of discussions. A second assembly is due to take place in October 2024. Both Vatican meetings follow a multi-phase consultation process with Catholics across the globe.

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