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SR. Picquart: Additional Synod Year to Make the Church More Inclusive

Sister Nathalie Piccoart, Under-Secretary of the Synod, comments on Pope Francis’ decision to extend the synodal procession for a year, saying it will allow time for maturity.

Catarina Agurelius – Vatican

The Secretary General of the Synod, Sister Nathalie Becquart XMCJ, speaks to Vatican News about Pope Francis’ recent decision to extend the Synod for another year.

ripening time

The Pope’s decision means that the Synod, which began in 2021, will now end in 2024 and not as previously planned in 2023. During this additional year, Synod participants will be invited to a second meeting. Sister Natalie explains:

“It is a Synod in two sessions… and in the meantime they come [synodens deltagare] Return to their dioceses and there is time to continue the process, discernment and test the synod.”

“It’s about learning by doing, so it takes time”

Process to take step by step

As the Pope also explained, it is really a decision to deepen the distinction, says the Father. Becquart, “Because synodalism is precisely about discerning together and listening to each other and listening to the Holy Spirit. We can say that it is about learning by doing, so it takes time.”

It also maintains that nothing has been set in stone and no decision has been made about what will happen between the two cycles in 2023 and 2024. “It’s really a step-by-step process,” she explains, and they’re on the move. In different ways in different parts of the world.

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Church of great diversity

“In France, almost all dioceses after the Second Vatican Council had up to three diocesan or synodal councils,” she says, while in other countries there have not been any. It depends a lot on the history and culture of countries and “situations are very variable”. Sister Natalie continues:

“It is very beautiful to see how the synodal process has been implemented in so many contexts,” she says. “Different languages, different cultures with great creativity … According to different facts, we can see that the obstacles to synodality are not always the same. But there are also some common trends. It is interesting to see how we are all together as a Church, but also with great diversity “.