From Draft to Final Text: 10 Ways the Synod Report Changed

The report issued at the end of the synod on synodality’s first session evolved considerably from the day a draft was presented to delegates to its Oct. 28 release.

An initial draft of the “synthesis report” prompted more than 1,000 amendments after it was shared with participants Oct. 25.

The 42-page final report, published Saturday (only in Italian), differed in many respects from the 40-page draft text, previously reported by The Pillar.

Here’s a guide to 10 notable changes.

1) ‘Permanent synod’ dropped

❌ Before: “It is proposed to establish a permanent synod of bishops elected by Episcopal Conferences to support the Petrine ministry” (chapter 13, section j).

✅ After: “It is proposed to enhance and strengthen the experience of the Council of Cardinals (C-9) as a synodal council at the service of the Petrine ministry” (13, j, approved 319-27).

🤷‍♂️ What changed: When Pope Paul VI established the synod of bishops as a permanent institution with the 1965 apostolic letter Apostolica sollicitudo, he said it would enable bishops to “offer more effective assistance to the supreme Shepherd.” He also decreed that members would include “bishops elected by individual national episcopal conferences.”

But as it exists in canon law, while the secretariat of the synod of bishops is a permanent institution, the synod itself is a body reconstituted for every new synodal session, with representatives from episcopal conferences and special papal invitees chosen for each new assembly according to the pope’s wishes.

In the end, participants called instead for an already established body, the Council of Cardinal Advisers, to be re-envisaged as “a synodal council at the service of the Petrine ministry,” without specifying how.

2) ‘LGBTQ+’ excised

❌ Before: “In different ways, people who feel marginalized or excluded from the Church because of their status or sexuality, such as divorced people in a second union, people who identify as LGBTQ+, etc., also ask to be heard and accompanied” (16, g).

✅ After: “In different ways, people who feel marginalized or excluded from the Church, due to their marital situation, identity, and sexuality, also ask to be listened to and accompanied, and that their dignity is defended” (16, h, approved 326-20).

🤷‍♂️ What changed: The acronym “LGBTQ+,” which also appeared in the synod on synodality’s working document, vanished. Synod organizers have not offered an explanation for the term’s disappearance.

Papal synod appointee Cardinal Blase Cupich has suggested that “the decision not to use the term LGBTQ was informed by some synod members from the global south, who spoke about having negative experiences in dealing with conditions on foreign aid from western countries that use that terminology.”

Another synodal attendee, Fr. James Martin, S.J., claimed that “The document, as it turns out, does not reflect the fact that the topic of LGBTQ people came up repeatedly in both many table discussions and the plenary sessions, and provoked widely diverging views.”

Continue reading at The Pillar