Vatican: Historic Synod Underway

    Photo: Vatican Media via Vatican Pool/Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Regulations on rules of engagement at the Vatican's "16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops" have reportedly been published, which contain key guidelines for confidentiality protocols as the historic meetings of the Catholic Church are underway.

    • On Wednesday, Pope Francis opened a weekslong debate to discuss the future of the Catholic Church amid a host of contentious issues, including married and women priests, same-sex unions, and global warming.

    The Spin

    Progressive narrative

    Even while facing criticism, Pope Francis has stood firm in his progressive agenda and belief that the Catholic Church should be welcoming and affirming to people from all walks of life. The Church's conservative faction has grown in numbers and has moved into the dangerous territory of confusing faith with ideology. Historic ground may now be broken including on climate change and LGBTQ+ issues.

    Conservative narrative

    Pope Francis's reign over the Catholic Church is both unconventional and an insult to tradition. Unlike his predecessor — the late Pope Benedict, who was a man of tradition and church doctrine — Francis doesn't value what has made the Catholic Church home to generations of devout followers. By liberalizing the Church, even if in good faith, the pontiff is destabilizing the institution and preparing the Church for its downfall.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 50% chance that the Catholic Church will elect a new Pope by June 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

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