Outreach editor Father James Martin appointed to upcoming Synod of Bishops

Breaking News Colleen Dulle / July 7, 2023 Print this:
Jesuit Father James Martin greets Pope Francis after his audience with the Vatican's Dicastery for Communication, in the Sala Clementina of the Apostolic Palace in Rome on November 12, 2022. (Photo courtesy of Vatican News)

Pope Francis has appointed James Martin, S.J., as a member of the Synod on Synodality, which will meet in Rome in October 2023 and 2024. The Vatican released the full list of participants on July 7.

Father Martin is the founder of Outreach and editor at large at America magazine. Since 2017, he has served as a consultor to the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communications. Father Martin is the author of many books, including Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter Into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity. His latest, Come Forth: The Promise of Jesus’s Greatest Miraclewill be released in September.

[Every American going to the Synod on Synodality: Full list and analysis]

“I’m honored to be invited by the Holy Father to participate in the Synod,” Father Martin said. “As a Jesuit, I’m committed to this kind of group discernment and look forward to discovering what the Holy Spirit has in store for the synod, and for the church.”

The synod, officially titled “Towards a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission,” is a four-year process aimed at making the Catholic Church more cooperative at all levels in carrying out the church’s mission of sharing the Gospel. It began in 2021 with a global listening process carried out in dioceses around the world, the results of which were synthesized by bishops’ conferences and sent to the Vatican.

“As a Jesuit, I’m committed to this kind of group discernment and look forward to discovering what the Holy Spirit has in store for the synod, and for the church.”

A second, continental phase involved assemblies of bishops, clergy and laypeople synthesizing the results of their regions’ listening sessions and discerning steps for further reflection and action.

The final phase, the Roman or “universal” phase, will take place over two month-long meetings to be held in the Vatican’s Paul VI Audience Hall in October 2023 and October 2024. The time between the meetings will be dedicated to further reflection on the issues that arose at the first meeting, including possible changes to canon law.

Unlike in previous meetings, where voting on the synod’s recommendations to the pope was limited to bishops and some men in religious orders, all members of the 2023 synod, including laywomen and women religious, will be allowed to vote.

Father Martin is a New York Times bestselling author whose books include The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Anything: A Spirituality for Real LifeJesus: A Pilgrimage and My Life with the Saints. He is a sought-after commentator on Catholic news and appeared several times on “The Colbert Report” as the show’s unofficial chaplain. He has also worked as a consultant on Martin Scorsese’s films “Silence” and “The Irishman,” making a cameo appearance in the latter.

Mr. Scorsese was an executive producer of the 2021 documentary “Building a Bridge,” which followed Father Martin through a year of his LGBTQ ministry, capturing the work he did and the opposition he faced. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Pope Francis has expressed his support for Father Martin’s ministry on multiple occasions. Most recently, he sent his greetings to participants in the Outreach LGBTQ Catholic Ministry Conference in June.

This article originally appeared in America.

Colleen Dulle

Colleen Dulle is an associate editor at America and co-host of the "Inside the Vatican" podcast.

All articles by Colleen Dulle

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