Pope Francis Approves New Document Elevating Ecumenism And Synodality Above Papal Primacy

The Vatican has unveiled a pivotal document on the papacy, which contains numerous calls to fundamentally alter the understanding of the practice of papal primacy and authority in order to aid ecumenism and synodality.

Titled “The Bishop of Rome. Primacy and Synodality in the Ecumenical Dialogues and in the Responses to the Encyclical Ut unum sint,” the text was launched via a press conference in Rome, June 13.

Billed as “the first document to summarize the entire ecumenical debate on the service of primacy in the Church since the Second Vatican Council,” the document is the fruit of almost four years of “truly ecumenical and synodal work.” The text presents the results of a process initiated by the Dicastery for the Promotion of Christian Unity (DPCU) in 2020, which saw the 25th anniversary of Ut Unum Sint.

The document, drawn up under the guidance of the DPCU, has received input from “Orthodox and Protestant theologians,” as well as the Roman Curia and the Synod of Bishops. As such, the text is a “study document”: not presenting a new line which the Vatican is set to adhere to – at least not yet – but giving a strong indication of probably future direction on the papacy which may soon emerge, partially from the Synod on Synodality.

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