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Briefly: Our moral vision is not defined by fear but by dialogue with all seekers after truth.


Briefly: 'What touches all must be discussed and approved by all.’


Briefly: All ministries are open to all, as they were in the early church.


Briefly: Our bodies and our spirits long for truthfulness, and come alive when we allow them to bear witness to it.

Summary and Conclusion:






Diocesan Report:

Strongest themes: Inclusivity, outreach, young people


[3 words to describe the Catholic Church]:

homophobic, intolerant, misogynistic


[in a table of priorities] inclusivity = 2nd

e.g. the lonely, single people, mothers and babies


LGBTQA+ were specified as a group who were particularly excluded by the church and all who mentioned this wanted things to change.


[requests for] access for other disabilities such as deaf and blind; for more ecumenical effort and development of relationships with other faiths; Blessings for same-sex couples



Inclusive communion was suggested by some, with particular regrets where a person couldn’t share communion with a non- Catholic Christian partner.


Young people wanted to feel their voices are being heard by the church. They don’t see the equality and inclusion of women as even an issue.


The church ought to be more outward looking and working alongside other denominations and faiths







Via the parish newsletter each parish was invited to nominate 2 reps: male & female to lead local process which inc 4 media for responding:

‘Dear Pope Francis’ postcards; paper/digital survey; focus groups; parish responses to pre-set questions


External professional advice on collection and processing of data


2 synod leads, male and female


12 volunteers to Core Group steering project with synod leads


60% parishes responded; 400 individuals


46% of total post-covid Mass attenders were involved, or 16% of pre-Covid Mass attenders.


All parishes responded except one where only individuals submitted


Mixed response from clergy


Prayer was integral to the work, and to the process


There was some fear and pessimism that a watered-down version of people’s concerns would be presented to the CBCEW and people were very pleased throughout the process to see the Bishop joining many meetings and being present at the final summary meeting. People also expressed the wish that the synodal process would continue, and parishes, the diocese and the universal church would take account of what they have learned.


Age breakdown




3/4 participants were Catholics. 7% had ‘walked’



Reform/change is top by far of answers to the question ‘anything else?’

Summary and Conclusion:

Many of the concerns can only be addressed by the Universal Catholic Church.


Diocesan Report:

the majority [had] concerns grounded in the theology and teachings of Vatican II. Sixty years later, the people were claiming their authority to speak as the People of God by virtue of their baptism.


A large proportion advocated ‘Change and Modernization’ in every aspect: (“the church’s attitude to sexuality and homosexuality is outdated”),


[3 words to describe the Church]:

outdated, hypocritical, inflexible


Divorced and remarried expressed great hurt at their exclusion.


Involvement in social justice issues was seen generally as an integral part of what it means to be Catholic


[requests for a] “simpler church more firmly grounded in the essence of the Gospel message.”

Summary and Conclusion:

A Synodal Review Meeting is scheduled for March 2023




Diocesan Report:

A large proportion of respondents advocated [making] Canon Law “more aligned to International Human Rights Legislation, advances in science and modern life’


[people commented on] helplessness, passivity and lack of voice in a hierarchical, distant, institutional church;


There were some critical comments about the clergy… related to questions of authority; clericalism; who makes decisions about what happens in the parish and ‘infantalising the laity’


The pain, shame, sadness, anger created and ongoing due to the clerical abuse scandals were mentioned many times. Ongoing reconciliation

and atonement were seen as necessary now and into the future.

The issue was generally referred to as ‘the abuse scandal’ and the lack of words or language for this suggests the process of assimilating the evil tragedy of what has happened to the church is only at the beginning


Nobody acknowledged the safeguarding now in place.


The behaviour of the hierarchy, secrecy, and protecting reputations, abusing power, and patronizing the laity are deep pastoral wounds.


[request] for Diocesan Pastoral Council with laity; involving women at all levels of decision-making



One person said being believed was important, and ‘abuse’ referred to the broad range of sexual, physical, emotional and spiritual abuse.

Summary and Conclusion:






Diocesan Report:

Strongest theme: clergy


Equal opportunities for women in all roles, as well as ordination, was the most frequently mentioned [as was] the strength of feeling about the misogyny and inequality [and] language being exclusive


Appeal to ‘ressourcement’ [i.e.] “Give women access to roles in the modern church that they had in the early church”


A large proportion advocated optional celibacy


Some laity felt unable to fully express their own ‘baptised prophet, priest and king’ role and one expressed this by quoting Canon Law 212.3


Some people said they have had to walk away


Lack of equality of opportunity for the laity to share in collaborative ministry.


Newly ordained priests often seemed to adhere to a model of clerical dominance. Clergy selection, formation and ongoing training was in need of improvement: involving laity in recruitment, updating what is taught and spending less time in seminary. Married men and optional celibacy would enable the priesthood to be enriched in many ways as well as address the shortage of priests. Allowing women to be ordained into the priesthood, was mentioned by very many


A request for women deacons to be introduced.


Clear worry about the lottery of how collaborative, pastoral and available a new priest was to the parish. Regular reviews of priest’s performance, good practice, training, and development needs was suggested as a necessary way forward.






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