The Vatican this week released the list of participants attending next month’s Synod on the Family with Pope Francis personally nominating a number of bishops renowned for being pastorally minded, writes Christopher Lamb.
Out of the 279 voting participants, 45 have been appointed by Francis: they include the Archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich and retired cardinals Walter Kasper, Godfried Danneels and Dionigi Tettamanzi.
They take their places as papal nominees at the Synod alongside a number of the cardinals created by the Pope in February.
Many of them come from far-flung corners of the globe such as Tonga (Cardinal Soane Mafi), Panama (Cardinal José Lacunza Maestrojuán) and New Zealand (Cardinal John Dew).
Another papal nominee is Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, who, in the latest edition of the Jesuit journal Civiltà Cattolica said that stable gay relationships are “better” than temporary ones. The director of Civiltà Cattolica, Fr Antonio Spadaro, an adviser to the Pope, has also been appointed by Francis.
At the same time Francis appointed more conservative-minded prelates including Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop of Bologna, who opposes allowing communion for the divorced and remarried, and Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.
Seventeen lay couples from across the world and 10 individual women will attend the Synod as auditors including the Italian journalist Professor Lucetta Scaraffia. There are also a separate group of lay people who will work with the Synod’s special secretary.
The Synod will take place from 4-25 October.
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