Pope Francis has initiated ten study groups to explore critical themes emerging from the Synod of Bishops on Synodality.

These groups, formed to provide in-depth analysis, will discuss a range of topics from the potential for women deacons to the engagement of the Church in digital spaces. Cardinal Mario Grech, secretary-general of the Synod, emphasized the pontiff’s proactive approach, telling CNS that “he listened and is acting” to address the concerns and suggestions from the first assembly.

Monsignor Piero Coda, secretary general of the International Theological Commission, explained the nature of the groups, affirming to Crux that “of course they are on the agenda,” referring to issues like the LGBTQ+ community and women’s roles within the Church.

The Pope’s letter to Cardinal Grech calls upon “pastors and experts from all continents” to bring a diverse and global perspective to the table. The study groups are tasked with making a preliminary report to the Synod’s second assembly in October and aim to conclude their work by June 2025.

The ten themes set for exploration by these groups are as follows:

1.Some aspects of the relationship between the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Latin Church.
2.Listening to the Cry of the Poor
3.The mission in the digital environment.
4.The revision of the Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis in a missionary synodal perspective.
5.Some theological and canonical matters regarding specific ministerial forms.
6.The revision, in a synodal missionary perspective, of the documents touching on the relationship between Bishops, consecrated life, and ecclesial associations.
7.Some aspects of the person and ministry of the Bishop (criteria for selecting candidates to Episcopacy, judicial function of the Bishops, nature and course of ad limina Apostolorum visits) from a missionary synodal perspective.
8.The role of Papal Representatives in a missionary synodal perspective.
9.Theological criteria and synodal methodologies for shared discernment of controversial doctrinal, pastoral, and ethical issues.
10.The reception of the fruits of the ecumenical journey in ecclesial practices.

Editorial credit: Riccardo De Luca - Update / Shutterstock.com | Photo credit: joscreative / Shutterstock.com
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