What happens when hundreds of bishops debate their Church’s most divisive teachings - on sex and the family?
Pope Francis has brought together nearly 300 bishops from all over the world for a special Synod on the Family. He has asked them to speak frankly and with courage about his Church’s most divisive teachings – those that affect the sex lives of more than billion people. The stakes are high. Just calling the synod has raised hopes among liberal Catholics, who would like Rome to relax its teachings on homosexuality, birth control and divorce and remarriage. But will the reformers succeed given that the Church’s new powerhouse is Africa, where many believers want their bishops to uphold tradition and doctrine?
In the final episode, Helen Grady travels to Rome to try to understand what is happening inside the Synod. All the key meetings take place behind closed doors, so it’s not obvious what the bishops are talking about or which way the debate is heading. Helen speaks to bishop delegates from Ireland, Nigeria, Australia and Algeria and gets their take on what is happening in the surprisingly modern conference room where the Synod meets every day. And she tries to find a way through the spin and intrigue that are part and parcel of reporting on the Vatican.
Interviewees include: Archbishop of Armagh, Eamon Martin; Archbishop of Kaduna, Matthew Man’oso Ndagoso; Bishop of Oran, Jean-Paul Vesco; Archbishop of Syndey, Cardinal George Pell; and Christopher Lamb, Rome correspondent for the international Catholic magazine The Tablet.
(Photo: Pope Francis celebrates the closing Mass of the XIV Ordinary Meeting of the Synod of Bishops in the Saint Peter"s Basilica. Credit: EPA)
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