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November 5, 2023

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

The Synod on Synodality has now finished the first month of in person prayer, listening and discerning. Some in the media try to get revenue by driving clicks to their website, etc. and can tend to exaggerate the story. Contrary to what some of you have heard, there has been no change in doctrine. Remember, this is the first year of a two-year process. At the end of next year’s meeting the members of the synod will write a document that will be given to the Holy Father. Usually, the Holy Father will then write the formal document.

Some have asked about whether we are going to be performing blessings of same-sex couple. At this time, there is no plan in the United States to authorize that. I am a member of the administrative committee of the US Bishops (we plan the agenda for the bishops’ meetings) and we have had no requests for time to even discuss this.

Regarding the concerns I have heard about women priests or deacons, no conclusions or recommendations have been made. Just last week, an interview was published in which Pope Francis again repeated that women’s ordination is not possible. He said, “"The fact that the woman does not access ministerial life is not a deprivation, because her place is much more important. I think we err in our catechesis in explaining these things, and ultimately we fall back on an administrative criterion that does not work in the long run."

I hope this helps clarify what you may have seen in different news reports.

Bishop Tim Freyer

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