An announcement from the Vatican has revealed that a group of nonclergy and women will be allowed to vote at a meeting of bishops. This decision can be viewed as a striking departure from the traditional operations of the Catholic Church. The bishops’ meeting addressed as “Synod on Synodality” has been scheduled for October. The inclusion of nonclergy and women for the purpose of voting is based on changes in the rules concerning such meetings where previously only bishops were allowed to vote. As per the new regulations, 70 nonclergy attendees will be allowed to vote and the organizers of the synod have requested that 50% of them should be women and there should also be the involvement of young people.
Washington Examiner reports:
The Vatican announced Wednesday that a select group of women and nonclergy would be afforded the ability to vote in a meeting of bishops, marking a significant departure from the Catholic Church’straditional practices.
The announcement is the latest indication that the Vatican is blazing an unconventional path with its “Synod on Synodality,” a two-year meeting of bishops that is scheduled to begin in October.
The change stems from a modification in the rules governing such meetings that previously stipulated only bishops were permitted to vote. Priests, deacons, and nonclergy or “laypeople” were permitted to participate as “auditors” and had no voting power.
The synod will instead allow 70 attendees who are not bishops to vote. The voting participants will be selected from a group of 140 general attendees, and the synod’s organizers have requested that 50% of those attendees should be women and “the presence of young people also be emphasized.”
But despite the newly granted power to participate as voting members, those who will be permitted to vote in the synod’s sessions must be personally approved by Pope Francis.
“It’s a change, but it’s not a revolution,” Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, the Synod on Synodality’s relator general, said on Wednesday, according to the Catholic News Agency. “Change is normal in life, in history.”
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