The general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Mario Grech, has praised the Liverpool Synod for modelling the synodal process by walking together, listening and discerning.
In a message to the synod, Cardinal Grech said: “I am convinced that during this synodal experience you have learnt that although you were asked to take a ‘vote’, the synod is neither a parliament nor a convention but, as Pope Francis insists, it is ‘an expression of the Church’. It is a Church that walks together and reads reality with the eyes of faith and the heart of God.”
Earlier this year, the Liverpool Synod published 19 recommendations ranging from questions of lay ministry to the environment. Participants in the synod were asked to vote on the priority of the proposals, ranking them from “high priority” to “not the right way forward”.
The results have now been published and reveal that some propositions, such as a fresh emphasis on evangelisation and on lay ministry, were overwhelmingly popular. Some proved more contentious, with proposals for extra-ecclesial gatherings of laypeople meeting with more limited support, as did suggestions around ecumenism and ecology.
Synod participants did not vote on a number of issues that have divided the German Church in its synodal process, as they were deemed “outside the remit” of the Liverpool Synod. During the “listening” phase, lay people put forward a number of such proposals, including calls for women’s ordination, an end to compulsory clerical celibacy and alterations to the liturgy.
Reflecting on the 19 recommendations, Archbishop Malcolm McMahon said in a statement: “The richness of the recommendations which have come out of this synod process we are journeying on together is great to see. They demonstrate the commitment shown by synod members, and indeed the whole archdiocese, particularly in what has been a very challenging year.”