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Pope Francis prepares to take a photo with young people at a presynod gathering of youth delegates in Rome March 19. (Credit: Paul Haring/CNS.)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- To the list of members of the Synod of Bishops elected by national bishops' conferences, Pope Francis added cardinals from 14 countries, bishops from another 10 nations, as well as 10 priests who be full voting members of the gathering.

The pope's appointees to the synod were announced Sept. 15 and included Canadian Cardinal Gerald LaCroix of Quebec and U.S. Cardinals Joseph W. Tobin of Newark, New Jersey, and Blase J. Cupich of Chicago.

The synod will meet Oct. 3-28 at the Vatican to focus on "young people, faith and vocational discernment."

Pope Francis also named as full voting members of the synod Blessed Sacrament Father Robert Stark, director of the Office of Social Ministry of the Diocese of Honolulu, and Canadian Jesuit Father Michael Czerny, undersecretary of the Vatican Section for Migrants and Refugees.


Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, and U.S. Cardinal Kevin J. Farrell, prefect of the Dicastery for Laity, the Family and Life, will be synod members by virtue of their Vatican posts.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops had elected as their delegates to the synod: Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston, conference president; Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles, USCCB vice president; Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of Bridgeport, Connecticut; and Auxiliary Bishop Robert E. Barron of Los Angeles.

They also elected Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia, but he is listed by the Vatican as an automatic member since he is part of the synod's permanent council.

The bishops of the Maronite Catholic Church elected Bishop Abdallah Elias Zaidan of Our Lady of Lebanon of Los Angeles to be a synod member. And the bishops of the Ukrainian Catholic Church elected Bishop Bryan J. Bayda of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops elected: Archbishop Luc Cyr of Sherbrooke, Quebec; Montreal Auxiliary Bishop Thomas Dowd; Bishop Lionel Gendron of Saint-Jean-Longueuil, Quebec; and Bishop Stephen A. Jensen of Prince George, British Colombia.

The Union of Superiors General elected 10 synod members -- eight priests and two religious brothers -- including U.S. Brother Robert I. Schieler, superior general of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, and Canadian Father Michael Brehl, superior general of the Redemptorists.

The synod rules do not foresee voting membership for women.

Pope Francis also named dozens of "collaborators" and "observers" to the synod, including 30 women and several young adults. They participate in the synod discussions, but do not have a vote on the final proposals given to the pope.

The U.S. participants include: Jonathan Lewis, assistant secretary for pastoral ministry and social concerns in the Archdiocese of Washington; Father Robert Panke, rector of St. John Paul II Seminary in Washington; 27-year-old Sister Briana Santiago, a member of the Apostles of the Interior Life, who participated in the pre-synod young adult forum in March; Yadira Vieyra, a researcher and immigration assistant in Chicago; and Sister Sally M. Hodgdon, superior general of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Chambery.

Two young people affiliated with Canada's Salt and Light Television also were named observers. They are Emilie Callan, who was a delegate to the pre-synod meeting; and Julian Paparella, a theology student.


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Nora Bolcon
5 years ago

Here is Proof this synod and all synods are pointless. Sexism is one of the greatest reasons we are losing our youth and they have told us this in countless surveys. We are also losing youth due to our continuous abuse stats. Stats that if we were to ordain women to priesthood and make bishops, cardinals and popes would highly likely drop immediately. It is a proven fact sexism causes directly child abuse and sexual child abuse (Pedophilia among these).

Our pope's response to these facts is we allow no women a vote. Popes can change the rules to the synod to allow equal voting for women if they want to, so it is absolutely Pope Francis' decision and his personal misogyny that has made this exclusion a reality.

So why bother with another Synod on Youth since they have already decided not to allow any women a vote at that synod just like the last one on the family which is just as hilarious? There is seriously no point.

While our church's motto is If you don't want the truth on a subject make sure to exclude the people who will tell you the truth there is no point to even listen to what they are speaking about on any subject. Would you care what our leadership talked about if it excluded all black people from voting? I wouldn't. This isn't Jesus at work but his adversary. This is another propaganda routine to get the laity tricked into thinking we are doing something to stem the loss and destruction brought on by our own hate and bigotry. This is the oldest trick in the book and it works for all forms of hatred - racism, sexism and ethnic bias.

While our church remains concerned with remaining the Church that Hates women above all else even its own complete self destruction there is no point in having a synod on any subject.

This will be another meeting of hypocritical, super sexist, blinded by arrogance jerks coming together to discuss justice and faith - a topic which by their chosen synodal construction has proven them completely ignorant. Hmmm - what is the point of that? Personally, I believe that should be the next topic of the next synod, and no priests, bishops, cardinals or popes should be allowed a vote - only laity.

SOMETHING TO NOTE HOWEVER, This Synod's Construction does bring up the NEW EVIL being pushed on the laity to accept so BE AWAKE sisters and brothers!
Pope Francis' plan for gender segregation is hidden in this set up of allowing priests votes but no women. He wants to turn priests basically into mini-bishops- mass-producers of Holy Eucharist and give them similar and greater authority, like bishops have since now few non-women-hating men desire to give up marriage to become priests to further the cause of misogyny in their religion. So to make up for the loss of priests numbers we turn to the next group of Catholic men to support sexism. This brings us to the married men, in our church, who also hate women and therefor will cooperate, and we call them Deacons.

Catholic Deacons, as a group, love their wives, and daughters and mothers so much they don't even support any of them being allowed useless deacon ordination because that would make them seem like equally human people to themselves.

These conservative, sexist deacons (we don't ordain progressive deacons) are the kinds of married men you will now see pushed on parishes to lead them despite the laity's desire to see lay male and female leadership instead. (FYI-Lay leaders can do all the same sacramental and other ministries as deacons when there is no deacon or priest which includes celebrating Eucharistic Celebrations and preaching when there is no priest. They just use previously consecrated hosts as a deacons would have to do too. Laity can also officiate at weddings, baptisms and funerals and have already been doing these ministries for the last 4-5 decades (same amount of time the deaconate has been put back into practice) in various areas of our church, globally, since many countries can't afford deacons (and these women and men have been doing these ministries with full permission of their bishops.)

This means ordaining deacons is completely unnecessary. Basically the point of the deaconate today is the furtherance of sexism and clericalism and perhaps a bit of racism too in our church.

So this is why Pope Francis and the hierarchy are going to be pushing more and more married men - ordained married male deacons - on the parishes. They want the misogyny to continue and for this to happen married men have to start looking normal in the part of leading parishes. Without the normalization of gender segregation, sexism can't survive in our church.

So unless greater abuse of women's human dignity and greater amounts of pedophile priests and deacons are what you want to look forward to in our church's future. Don't go to parishes that are led by deacons because they are going to try and shove them on us constantly while singing the praises of the deaconate constantly at us (if you are awake now, you have probably already noticed this push.) This is called propagandizing the laity.

We must Push against this hatred of women dressed up as progressive change. Until women are treated and ordained the same as men with the exact same sacraments, they are lesser people with lesser humanity in our church. There is nothing progressive in encouraging gender segregation. Married men, especially our deacons, will not stand up for women's justice and priesthood. They have not in the past, in our church, or in the Orthodox Churches, for many centuries, and they aren't now. Also, pedophilia is slightly higher among married men than single or celibate men so don't look for a decrease in child abuse from these men. Also increasing sexism generally increases child abuse in any organization - these two evils always go hand in hand in every age and in every organization on planet earth. Since gender segregation constitutes greater sexism, its likely results will be greater amounts of child abuse and pedophilia for this reason alone. SNAP - Where are you? Future Church - Where are you?

This leaves us with the best way to get justice in our church is for God fearing men and women to demand, with aggressive but non-violent, protests at any parishes and refusal to financially support any parishes that have been given a deacon to lead them and demand lay women and lay men be trained instead to lead in parishes that have no priests. Bishops have the authority to make this happen already, so we don't need to get permission from the pope. Walk away loudly from parishes that support deacon leadership - yelling we don't want to support the hatred and discrimination of women in leadership at the parish level or any other level or at Synods - yell this while you leave! Make sure they know why you are leaving and even better protest with signs outside your parish instead of going in for mass on Sundays. Get your fellow lay men and women to understand what is being pushed on them and why. This church will degrade enormously if we do not cast out sexism and gender hatred immediately. It is up to us since our priests and bishops have refused to stand up and act like Christ - therefore the laity must do so!

Shame on you Pope Francis and bishops and priests and deacons who put this synod forward this way and did not protest against it! Shame on all of you who know this is wrong but did not protest against it with the voices you have! Our youth have left because they see nothing Christian going on around any of you.

I am sorry dear youth of Catholicism, you came into our church looking for the real Jesus and he is not here today, in this synod or in our structure. We have chosen fallen man's way over the way of Christ because a way which commands we treat all people the same does not make men seem or feel superior.

I knew this pope would exclude women's voices completely and even wrote about that a year ago in this very magazine's comment section but it is still very sad and depressing to watch the devil take hold of what could have been such an important meeting because our Pope can't see the darkness he has allowed to take over his own heart on the subject of Justice and his sisters.

J Rabaza
5 years ago

Nora, it is not sexism but rather the parents of the youth that have given them cause to ignore the Faith. the youth have followed the example of their lapsed Catholic parents. The Family is the main source of evangelization and catechism. When the family fails it shows in the children and grandchildren.

Nora Bolcon
5 years ago

Your comment Jorge actually is not true. Many of the used to be Catholic NONES have parents who still attend Catholic mass weekly and always have.

Also, according to many responsibly sourced, recent (within the last decade) surveys, we see NONES who were Catholics leaving for the following top 8 reasons which they clearly stated voluntarily:
1. Priestly abuse of children,
2. Sexism and the refusal to ordain and treat women the same as men,
3. Mean and punitive treatment of LGBT,
4. A strong dislike of conservative politics being pushed by the hierarchy on the laity,
5. Disagreement with the church's stand on especially birth control, and some on how best to deal with the issue of abortion,
6. Dislike on how church should treat couples who co-habitate before marriage,
7. A sense of a lack of community within our parishes and a lack of warmth,
8. Clericalism and the hierarchy's extreme disregard of the voice of the laity on all matters of church governance and liturgy.

Mike Macrie
5 years ago

Nora your passion for women to play a greater role in the Catholic Church is admirable but remember “Rome was not built in a day”. But I agree with a lot of what you said but not all. There is a Gospel however that makes me think that women do need to play a greater role.
“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. 9 "This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor." Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The
poor you will always have with you,[4] but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

Venus Majeski
5 years ago

Rome was not built in a day? Women have been waiting 2000 years for full participation.

Nora Bolcon
5 years ago

Hi Venus, and by the way I love your name - it is quite unusual. We did not start as a sexist church at all and we have become more and more sexist over time so we are de-volving rather than evolving to our own self-destruction. Pope John Paul II's order brought us to an all time high of sexism. Much like democracy, churches must fight and defend the truth of the Gospel be upheld as the most sovereign Truth or they begin to degrade away from truth into self destruction continually. It is up to the laity to demand Gospel Justice and same treatment and sacraments be offered to all of its baptized members equally as Christ commanded in all 4 Gospels. This is not about building Rome in a day. Any amount of discrimination and oppression based on bias against a group's natural born human flesh is extremely damaging to that group. Also if we do want less pedophilia to happen immediately then we need to face the other facts and that is sexism is the soil for pedophilia. It was a seedbed for the abuse of our children and will not cease to be so until it is destroyed from our laws, traditions, and all our sacraments. For better understanding of how we became sexist more and more, please see my comment to Mike. Peace and God Bless, Nora

Nora Bolcon
5 years ago

Hi Venus, I want to apologize I believe at first when I read your comment that you were agreeing that Rome wasn't built in a day and were commenting I should be more patient. I just noticed the ? at the end of your comment to Mike. Thanks for asking the right questions - asking women to wait any longer is ridiculous and abusive. Times up!! I agree completely!

Nora Bolcon
5 years ago

HI MIke, I appreciate that you mean to be kind and somewhat supportive. However, you need to understand there is no such thing as a little more justice. Any amount of discrimination equally demeans the whole human being and damages them completely. Racial segregation did not damage black people much less than actual slavery. It just appeared to whites as not as bad as slavery. I was called to priesthood in my teens and have been literally left emotionally, spiritually and mentally scarred, and genuinely traumatized by the sexism and rejection of our church. The pain has never left,
not even for full day, since my being disregarded, disrespected and condemned for admitting God called me to ordained priesthood. I used to think I was unusual - that it hit me more than the other women until I met the other women called like me, and found they had been equally soul crushed. I left for a few years until God called me back to Catholicism and told me to fight for the truth and for justice and for his commandment to treat all the same to be realized for all members of our church and in our ordination practices.

You need to understand the very idea that there are women's roles in church is sinful as it demands different treatment, limitations and restrictions be placed on one group, although unwarranted by God or that group's capabilities. This difference of treatment is something which Christ condemns in all 4 Gospels because difference always means less than, and never equality and always has one group being treated with less love.

The church also was not founded on sexist ideals but the opposite. Christ commanded all disciples treat each other the same and although he told Peter he had the power to forgive or not any person, Christ also said this and gave this authority to the 72 disciples (likely male and female) which he sent out after the apostles. Neither Christ, nor Peter, nor any of the original 12 Apostles claimed to be ordained priests or claimed there existed any priesthood in the church outside of the Royal Priesthood which Peter claimed all believers - male and female - were equally a part. The word for ordination or one that translates to what ordination means does not exist anywhere in the New Testament. Peter claimed to be a Presbyter which is someone who presided over Eucharist and led churches but there were female presbyters too and the apostles did not do anything but laud there good works. Actual ordination came about hundreds of years later and even though there may have been women priests ordained for a while (we don't have a conclusive history either way), sexism started to take root after the Emperor Constantine took over the Church and let his pagan sexist ways push out women more and more from leadership. There is some evidence that there may have even been women bishops.

Our church had lied about its history and has even destroyed huge amounts of its own history and scripture in order to hide the fact that certain practices existed in the early church that they did not want continued. Women in leadership was a likely target for much of this destruction. This is also possibly why the dead sea scrolls were found in a cave. They may very well have been put in hiding from the church. Many people died trying to protect documents in our church's history. Historians believe our church may have destroyed upwards to almost 5 times the documents it now contains as its full history.

Wikapedias definition of sexism is quite accurate: (by definition): Sexism : is prejudice or discrimination based on a person's sex or gender. Sexism can affect anyone, but it primarily affects women and girls. It has been linked to stereotypes and gender roles, and may include the belief that one sex or gender is intrinsically superior to another. Extreme sexism may foster sexual harassment, rape, and other forms of sexual violence.

John Mack
5 years ago

"The synod rules do not foresee voting membership for women." Wise move, since no youth are female and no young men have ever been helped on to a better spiritual path by women. And besides, there are those women taking part in "Nones and Nuns" discussions and really listening to young people alienated from religion but open to hearing about it and respecting it. Keep those kind of women out! ... Besides the women would have to dress modestly and not in the gorgeous gowns the men will wear. Is it possible that Francis coyly and ironically wants to hold up this meeting as a sad example of the clericalism he so often criticizes?

Nora Bolcon
5 years ago

Thank you John and God Bless You. You are a true Brother in Christ.

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