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Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia told a conference that had met to discuss the “young people” of the Church that in light of the abuse crisis in the Catholic Church he had written to Pope Francis asking him to cancel the upcoming Youth Synod set to take place in Rome.
“The bishops would have absolutely no credibility” in the upcoming Youth Synod, Chaput told the Cardinal’s Forum, an annual gathering to provide academic formation of seminarians and continuing education for lay people, yesterday. The synod’s planned dates are set for October 3-28, 2018.
The August 30 panel discussion, which took place at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, was on the topic of “Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment.” Some 300 participated in the event.
Archbishop Chaput said the Youth Synod should be canceled.
“I have written the Holy Father and called on him to cancel the upcoming synod on young people. Right now, the bishops would have absolutely no credibility in addressing this topic,” he said.
Instead of having a youth synod, the Archbishop proposed that a synod should be held to address the topic of the bishops themselves.
“I have called on him (Pope Francis), in its place, to begin making plans for a synod on the life of bishops,” he said.
Chaput’s call for a synod on bishops reflects a similar call by Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, England. Egan has also written to Pope Francis asking for an “extraordinary synod” on priestly life so as to deal with the “clerical sex abuse” crisis.
“I suggest the Synod be devoted to the identity of being a priest/bishop, to devising guidance on life-style and supports for celibacy, to proposing a rule of life for priests/bishops and to establishing appropriate forms of priestly/episcopal accountability and supervision,” Egan wrote in the letter that he made public.
Archbishop Chaput’s call for the youth synod to be canceled comes at a time when accusations of clergy-abuse cover-up plague top leaders within the Church, including Pope Francis. Last week, Archbishop Viganó release a detailed testimony in which he claimed that Pope Francis covered up for now ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick despite having been given information that the Cardinal was a serial abuser who preyed on seminarians.
A working document for the upcoming Synod on Youth released in March — allegedly drafted by young people — stated that Catholic teaching on “contraception, abortion, homosexuality, cohabitation” is “especially controversial” and that “they may want the Church to change her teaching.”
Faithful Catholics have raised concern that just as the two Synods on the Family were used by key figures within the Church to undermine the Church’s teaching on marriage and the Eucharist, so too do they fear that the Youth Synod will have an analogous agenda.
Editor’s note: Pete Baklinski contributed to this report.