A three week synod opens at the Vatican starting October 4th.
Geographic splits have already emerged, with bishops in German-speaking countries, in particular, leading the call for reform while churchmen in Africa, along with many Eastern European prelates, are charging the Western Europeans with a kind of neocolonialism for trying to foist changes on a faith they say they are preserving.
Many bishops at last year’s synod raised questions about how the church could better welcome those whose lives don’t conform to the ideals of the catechism — cohabiting couples and those who are divorced and remarried without an annulment, for example, and even gay couples.
While those categories weren’t the only issues raised at the synod, they became flashpoints for controversy, and came to stand for the larger, more neuralgic debate over whether church teachings and practices could change.
Those who follow the Anglican Communion will be familiar with the charge of neocolonialism resulting from changes in church teaching.
Photo: 2014 Synod (credit)