Cardinal Hollerich and Cardinal Grech during a Conservatory on the Synod.Photo: Vatican Media

Women Will Have the Right to Vote in the Forthcoming World Synod in the Vatican and There Are Other Novelties

It is requested to evaluate the election of young people, not all the prefects of departments will participate from now on and the religious will also participate in quotas of 50%.

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(ZENIT News / Rome, 04.26.2023).- Made known in a press conference in the Vatican on Wednesday afternoon, April 26, 2023 were the novelties related to the forthcoming Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which, in fact, is no longer exclusively Episcopal.

Among the novelties revealed were the individuals that will take part, their number and the processes. The previous Synod was made up and regulated in keeping with canon 346 of the Code of Canon Law, which states:

Canon 346 – paragraph 1. Of those that make up the Synod of Bishops, when they gather in Ordinary General Assembly — members who in the majority are Bishops –, some are elected for each Assembly by the Episcopal Conferences, according to the way determined by the peculiar right of the Synod. Others are designated by the same right; others are appointed directly by the Roman Pontiff; to them are added some members of clerical religious institutes, in keeping with the rule of law of the same peculiar right. 

The Novelties: The Members of the Synod

The Synod on Synodality, which will have two phases: the first this coming October in the Vatican, and the next in October 2024, is modified in the following way:

1st Five women religious and five men religious will participate, elected by the Conferences of Major Superiors; both have the right to vote.

2nd There will no longer be what was known as auditors: henceforth there will be 70 members, who are not Bishops, who will represent the whole Church. They can be priests, lay people, deacons or consecrated people. The Pope will choose them from a list of 140 people that will be indicated by the International Meetings of Bishops’ Conferences and the Assembly of Patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches. 

There is a novelty here: 50% must be women and the 70 will have the right to vote. It is requested that the presence of young people be valued. 

3rd Henceforth, all the Heads of Dicasteries will not take part in the Synods but only those the Pope indicates. 

Other Aspects to Consider

Three other categories of participants are distinguished from the “members” for the October Synod: the experts, the facilitators (figures included for the first time) and the fraternal delegates. None of these categories have the right to vote, but yes the right  to voice.

In regard to the internal circulation document, “on April 17, 2023, the Holy Father approved the participatory extension in the Synodal Assembly to those that are “not Bishops (priests, deacons, consecrated men and women, lay men and women). This election is in continuity with the progressive appropriation of the constitutive synodal dimension of the Church and the consequent understanding of the institutions through which it is exercised.”

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Jorge Enrique Mújica

Licenciado en filosofía por el Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, de Roma, y “veterano” colaborador de medios impresos y digitales sobre argumentos religiosos y de comunicación. En la cuenta de Twitter:, habla de Dios e internet y Church and media: evangelidigitalización."

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