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Inside the VaticanMarch 20, 2024
Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, relator general of the synod on synodality, speaks during a news conference at the Vatican March 14, 2024, about study groups authorized by Pope Francis to examine issues raised at the synod. Looking on is Consolata Missionary Sister Simona Brambilla, secretary of the Dicastery for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life. (CNS photo/Lola Gomez)

The Vatican hosted a press conference on Friday, March 15, where next steps for the Synod on Synodality were announced, including the creation of 10 study groups into the issues the October synod asked for additional research on, including the role of bishops, the possibility of women deacons and the formation of priests.

Although these groups won’t submit final reports to the pope untilsummer 2025, they are expected to give an interim report at the October 2024 synod. On this week’s “Inside the Vatican,” host Colleen Dulle and veteran Vatican correspondent Gerard O’Connell offer different reactions to the news: Is it, Colleen suggests, “kicking the can down the road” or opening a “new horizon”?

Pope Francis has also appointed new leadership in the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, the body of experts tasked with advising the Vatican on the safeguarding of minors to prevent sexual abuse. The new appointees are Colombian Bishop Luis Manuel Alí Herrera, who will serve as the commission’s new secretary, and Teresa Morris Kettlekamp, a laywoman and mother, who has been appointed as adjunct secretary.

Ms. Kettlekamp formerly served as the executive director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Child and Youth Protection and has three decades of experience as a colonel in the Illinois State Police, bringing much-needed expertise in law enforcement to the commission.

In the second half of the show, Colleen and Gerry review who the new appointees are and what challenges they will face as they take up positions in a commission that has been marred by tensions and high-profile departures.

Finally, the hosts briefly discuss Pope Francis’ newest book, Life, My Story Through History.

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