Lay people invited for the first time

Lay people invited for the first time

Bishops © Julia Steinbrecht (KNA)

This Tuesday, France's bishops gather for their plenary meeting in Lourdes. For the first time, non-bishops may participate. Two baptized lay people, priests or deacons per diocese were invited for a day and a half, he said.

France's bishops meet from 5. to 10. November in Lourdes. On the agenda are the topic of ecology and the fight against sexual abuse, as the bishops' conference announced on Wednesday. The chairman of the Commission of Clarification of Sexual Abuse (CIASE), Jean-Marc Sauve, plans to present his report. A decision also is to be made on financial compensation for abuse victims.

Bishops' Conference invites laity

For the first time, lay people will be allowed to attend the meeting on the first two days. Each bishop can invite two baptized lay people, men or women, priests or deacons. Whether the bishops bring men or women from their dioceses is up to them.

People were to be selected with whom to discuss the future of mission in the respective dioceses, it was said. A total of about 330 participants are expected to attend the Assembly.

Bringing church closer to citizens

Over a three-year period, lay people will be invited to future plenary meetings to share experiences and listen to each other, according to the newspaper La Croix. The goal is to bring the church in France closer to the citizens again.

In July, Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims amed the presidency of the French Bishops' Conference. He announced his intention to change the way the Assembly works. The president of the Catholic charity Secours Catholique, Veronique Fayet, welcomed the announcement as a "symbolic first step". She hoped that many women, young people and people who have also had experiences in precarious environments would be present.

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