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Cardinal Grech’s Controversial Comments Add to Growing List of Concerns on Post-Synodal Study Groups

If Cardinal Mario Grech held nearly any office other than the one he does, his recent comments in favor of the female diaconate and against the need for “uniformity of thought” in the universal Church might not be so significant.

After all, when prelates offer their theological opinions, it’s generally taken as just that — an individual Church leader’s theological opinion.

But Cardinal Grech isn’t an ordinary prelate — he heads the Vatican’s Secretariat for the Synod. And just one week before his March 21 interview with an Italian-language Swiss publication, Pope Francis had tasked the Maltese cardinal with implementing 10 study groups to focus on themes raised at the 2023 Synod on Synodality assembly. Among them: the possibility of “women’s access to the diaconate” and “shared discernment of controversial doctrinal, pastoral, and ethical issues” in a way that pays “greater attention to the diversity of situations” in different parts of the world.

In other words, the cardinal’s comments can’t help but be read in the context of the study groups and how Cardinal Grech might intend to lead them, contributing to an already sizable list of concerns about the approach.

In the interview, Cardinal Grech said that a female diaconate (unspecified whether ordained or not) would not be a “revolution” but a “natural deepening of the Lord’s will.”

The Maltese cardinal also said that Church communion should take the form of a “unity of differences” rather than “uniformity of thought,” and described his vision of the Church as a “rainbow,” with more flexibility in pastoral approaches and teaching in different places.

Cardinal Grech’s apparent support for some form of female deacons is likely to reinforce suspicions that the study groups are being set up to achieve predetermined outcomes that the Synod couldn’t deliver. And his views on Church unity, which seem rooted in a disputed understanding of Vatican II’s doctrine on relation between particular Churches and the universal Church, and was emphasized at the 2023 synod assembly by the likes of the progressive German prelate Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck, will likely heighten concerns about the ecclesiological commitments animating the study groups and the selection of its members.

Read more at National Catholic Register 

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