Vatican, 27 October, 2022 / 8:00 pm (ACI Africa).
The Vatican revealed on Thursday a key document to guide the next stage of discussions in the Synod on Synodality.
The working document, titled “Enlarge the space of your tent,” covers issues across a broad spectrum, from the clergy sexual abuse crisis to Christian unity. The text calls for “a Church capable of radical inclusion” and says that many synod reports raised questions about the inclusion and role of women, young people, the poor, people identifying as LGBTQ, and the divorced and remarried.
The 44-page working document is officially called the DCS (Document for the Continental Stage). It summarizes the reports shared with the Vatican by bishops’ conferences, religious congregations, departments of the Roman Curia, lay movements, and other groups and individuals.
Published on Oct. 27, the document aims to be “the privileged instrument through which the dialogue of the local Churches among themselves and with the universal Church can take place during the Continental Stage.”
The text notes diverse challenges the Church faces worldwide, such as increased secularization, forced conversion and religious persecution, lack of structures for people with disabilities, and clericalism.
It identifies the celebration of the Mass, whether according to the pre-Vatican II missal or the post-Vatican II liturgy, and access to the Eucharist as “knots of conflict” in the Church and cites a great “diversity of opinion” on the subject of priestly ordination for women, which some reports called for and others considered “a closed issue.”
“Enlarge the space of your tent” is “not a conclusive document” but is meant to spark dialogue and arouse feedback on what should be the priorities for discussion during the first session of the Synod of Bishops in October 2023.
The text will operate as an outline for the next stage of synod discussions: The Continental Assemblies, to be held on different continents between January and March 2023.
In particular, the document presents three reflection questions to which Continental Assemblies will need to respond after people have read and prayed over its content:
Which intuitions resonate most strongly with the lived experiences and realities of the Church in your continent? Which experiences are new or illuminating to you?
What substantial tensions or divergences emerge as particularly important in your continent’s perspective? Consequently, what are the questions or issues that should be addressed and considered in the next steps of the process?
Looking at what emerges from the previous two questions, what are the priorities, recurring themes, and calls to action that can be shared with other local Churches around the world and discussed during the First Session of the Synodal Assembly in October 2023?