Coming Catholic clergies` synod by Vatican may widen rifts among U.S. Catholics

RELIGIONS NEWS AGENCY (REDNA) – Early next month, the Vatican will open an unprecedented gathering of Catholic clergy and laypeople from around the world.

AP reported the synod is intended to be a collegial, collaborative event, though the agenda includes divisive issues such as the role of women in the church and the inclusion of LGBTQ Catholics.

If there’s Exhibit A for how elusive consensus might be, it’s the United States’ participation. In effect, there are two high-level U.S. delegations widely viewed as ideological rivals — six clerics appointed by Pope Francis who support his aspirations for a more inclusive, welcoming church; five clerics chosen by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who reflect a more conservative outlook and more skepticism of Francis’ priorities.

Natalia Imperatori-Lee, a professor of religious studies at Manhattan College in New York, worries that the synod, which starts Oct. 4, might widen rifts among U.S. Catholics rather than narrow them.

“The polarization of the country has infiltrated the church in such a way that I worry we can’t see our way out of it,” she said.


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