Vatican News

Synodality is radically inclusive

Synodality is radically inclusive


Article of Global Sisters Report


"When Pope Francis met in March with members of a newly formed commission tasked with organizing the upcoming synod meetings in Rome, he seemed a bit surprised to see women when he entered the room.


Mercedarian Sr. Shizue "Filo" Hirota said Francis exclaimed, "Donne!" — Italian for "Women!" — upon seeing her and another official from the Vatican's synod office.

"He was happy, but he sounded like he hadn't expected to see us," Hirota told Global Sisters Report in an April 4 interview.

Hirota, who hails from Tokyo, is the only woman and only nonordained member of the seven-person committee, which was announced March 15. But despite being in the minority, she is unintimidated.


"The pope has said it is not going to be just a Synod of Bishops, it's going to be a synod of the people of God," Hirota said. "But as a structure, the church is hierarchical, episcopal. I cannot represent all of the cries of the excluded, but perhaps I am there as a reminder."

For nearly two years, the Catholic Church has been engaged in a three-phase consultation process with Catholics around the globe that will culminate in two high-stakes meetings in October 2023 and October 2024 in Rome.


In the first phase, dioceses from around the world held listening sessions with Catholics and non-Catholics alike on a range of sensitive topics, culminating in a 45-page document that is a comprehensive and candid expression of the Catholic Church's relationship with the modern world."


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