With about three weeks to go before Catholic prelates around the world are due to open a first-of-its-kind grassroots consultation period as part of an expanded vision for the Vatican's Synod of Bishops, church officials across the U.S. are still figuring out exactly what that process will look like.
Per the instructions that the Vatican sent out last May, each U.S. bishop is supposed to open his local consultation process on Oct. 17. He is to collect input from local parishes, lay movements, religious institutions, schools, universities, ecumenical communities and other groups.
However, a range of dioceses contacted by NCR in recent weeks said they were still working out the details for the consultation period and would be in a better position to comment on the synod in coming weeks, after Pope Francis formally opens the two-year synod process with a ceremony in Rome on Oct. 9.
Despite concerns and controversies, NCR's editorial staff urges Catholics to participate in the synodal process. It may not be perfect, but the church is more likely to address the needs of the people of God with it than without it.
Phyllis Zagano reminds readers that Pope Francis' plan is for ordinary Catholics to have their say in the coming synod. The problem: No one seems to know about it. The bigger problem: U.S. bishops don't seem to care.
The disturbing images of United States Border Patrol agents charging on horseback at Haitian migrants at the southern border last week set off an understandable firestorm of shock and outrage, which led to mounting criticism of the Biden administration for allowing such inhumane tactics on its watch.
"For all the condemnation of the optics at the border, there appears to be little interest on the part of senior administration officials in attending to the actual problem of inhumane and unjust immigration policies that has led to the mass deportation of migrants at the southern border," writes Franciscan Fr. Daniel P. Horan in his latest column.
There has been an important development however, Horan writes. "There is no longer openness among many allies of Democratic politicians to turn a blind eye, make excuses or grant a blanket 'benefit of the doubt' when it comes to rank dehumanizing policies and practices," he says.
Immigration advocates are calling for an end to Title 42, a controversial Trump-era policy that expels people at the border without due process, allegedly in the name of public health. But the Biden administration continues to fight for the policy.
As Congress faces a critical week, with the nation's largest-ever federal climate initiatives on the line in two multi trillion-dollar legislative packages, a North Carolina representative said faith communities could play a key role in pushing both bills across the finish line.
ICYMI: In his latest column, Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese outlines five rules for how you can disagree with the pope. The first rule is to be respectful.