Synod Emphasizes Transparency, But Won’t Reveal Its Cost

The Vatican has not responded to questions regarding the expense it incurred to organize and host October’s synod of bishops on synodality, a month-long meeting of more than 400 people, held in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall.

But sources have confirmed to The Pillar that many of the costs associated with the meeting will be be borne by bishops’ conferences and local dioceses around the world, and that the same is expected for an October 2024 meeting that will conclude the process.

The synod on synodality was announced by Pope Francis in March 2020, as a years-long process of common prayer, discernment and consultation among ecclesial leaders and lay Catholics.

The synod was meant to engage Catholics around the world in a “synodal” process of common prayer and spiritual conversation, to assess how the Church could better invite more Catholics into decision-making processes, and — in so doing — better hear the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

The process began in late 2021, with a Vatican directive for parishes to organize local meetings discussing the notion of “journeying together” in “synodality.”

After those parish meetings, dioceses were instructed to hold their own meetings, based upon the feedback of parishes.

Diocesan reports on synodality were sent to national episcopal conferences and compiled, before “continental” consultative sessions organized in each region of the world.

After those processes, 365 voting delegates — more than 75% of them bishops — were invited to spend four weeks in October in Rome, discussing the topic of synodality, and compiling a list of recommendations to Pope Francis. Those recommmendations will form the basis for another gathering of the same delegates next October, expected to last for three or four weeks.

In addition to those voting delegates, the daily synod meetings in the Vatican’s Paul VI Hall included almost 100 staffers, observers, and subject area experts invited to consult or take in the meeting.

But while the synodality synod has emphasized transparency and lay participation in the Church, organizers have declined to respond to multiple questions from The Pillar regarding the financial costs of the synod to the Vatican.

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