Synod: Laymen and laywomen eligible to vote at General Assembly

The Secretariat for the Synod announces that 70 “non-bishop members” appointed by the Pope—half of whom will be women—will be able to vote at the Synod General Assembly in October.

Neither the nature nor the name is changing—which remains the Synod of Bishops—but the composition of the participants in the October 2023 General Assembly in the Vatican on the theme of synodality is set to change since a sizeable group of “non-bishop” members will also take part.

These 70 individuals will include lay people appointed directly by the Pope, 50 per cent of whom shall be women and among whom shall be included, several young people. All 70 will enjoy voting rights at the Assembly, which will consist of around 370 voting members out of more than 400 total participants.

These represent the main changes introduced on Wednesday by Pope Francis for the Synod Assembly, which will seal the synodal path he himself launched in the Autumn of 2021.

The changes were presented by Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the Secretariat for the Synod, and Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, the Synod’s General Relator.

“This is not a revolution but an important change,” they specified at a press conference at the Holy See Press Office on Wednesday.

The Pope will choose the 70 non-bishop members from a list of 140 prepared by the 7 International Reunions of Bishops’ Conferences and the Assembly of Patriarchs of Eastern Catholic Churches.

They shall represent “various groupings of the faithful of the people of God (priests, consecrated women, deacons, lay faithful)”, according to the letter.

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