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Synod Debates Power

VATICAN CITY (CNS): The issue of shared Church governance has emerged as a dominant theme at the Synod of Bishops in Rome, with nearly two dozen bishops advocating more decision-making power at local levels.

But the strongest applause followed a speech by the Vatican’s doctrinal head, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who said Catholics today spend too much time talking about the Church and not enough about Jesus.

Another theme taking shape at the September 30-October 27 synod on the bishop’s role in the Church was the need for Church leaders to be prophets of social justice. Several bishops cited the international embargo of Iraq, the situation of Palestinians and extreme poverty as injustices at the root of the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The synod participants included Pope John Paul II and nearly 250 bishops from more than 110 countries.

About two dozen synod participants – roughly 18 per cent of the 136 who spoke during the first week – directly raised the issue of Church governance, with several questioning whether today’s model achieves the co-responsibility they said was envisioned by the Second Vatican Council.

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