Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Austria's bishops: Our synod report is not a catalogue of demands

Austria's bishops see a positive cultural change for the Catholic Church a positive cultural change for the Catholic Church. 

The trigger is the worldwide synodal process initiated by Pope Francis, according to a press release (Wednesday) following their summer plenary assembly in Mariazell. 

A "culture of open dialogue" and listening to one another is emerging. This would make it easier to live with different positions. 

The bishops hope that this attitude will also have an impact on society.

With a view to the concluding worldwide Synod Plenary Assembly in the Vatican in October, the bishops explained that the Austria report recently sent to Rome was "not a catalogue of demands" from the Bishops' Conference, but rather a condensed summary of in-depth discussions that have taken place in Austria over the past few months. 

Three out of a total of 14 topics were prioritised: the position of women in the Church, a missionary orientation of the Church and more participation within the Church.

Strengthening trust in democracy

According to the bishops, the "noticeable decline in voter turnout" observed in the EU elections in Austria is worrying and should be a wake-up call for all political leaders. 

Democrats should not resign themselves to this, they said. 

The Bishops' Conference appeals to all political forces to strengthen trust in the basic democratic order. Democracy needs the participation of all.

According to the bishops, not voting can be "an expression of protest, but also of mistrust or disenchantment with politics". 

Election disputes are a litmus test for trust in the basic democratic order. 

With a view to the parliamentary elections to the National Council at the end of September, the Episcopate appeals to all parties to engage in respectful dialogue and fact-based discussions and to avoid populism. 

It is about building bridges instead of deepening rifts.