More than 360 participants, including 18 married couples from around the world, were expected to attend October’s Synod of Bishops on the family.
In addition to the 166 synod members elected by their national bishops’ conferences, 22 heads of Eastern Catholic churches, 25 heads of Vatican congregations and councils and 10 heads of men’s religious orders, the pope appointed an additional 45 synod fathers to take part in the Oct. 4-25 gathering.
The complete list of synod participants and papal appointees was released Sept. 15 by the Vatican.
The ordinary synod will include many more people than last year’s extraordinary synod, which met over the course of 15 days. The ordinary synod will bring together nine additional leaders of Eastern Catholic churches and six more “fraternal delegates” from the Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant communities. The pope also named 45 voting members of the synod — up from 26 last year — and he appointed 51 observers and 23 experts, including a total of 18 married couples. At the extraordinary synod, there were 38 observers and 16 experts, which included a total of 14 couples.
Almost half of the 45 papally appointed voting members are from Europe with another 15 from the Americas, three from Africa, two from Oceania and one from Asia. At the extraordinary synod, almost all appointees were from Europe, and none of the papal appointees was from North America or other English-speaking countries.
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