Philly’s Chaput, Africa’s Sarah among 15 bishops to plan next Synod

Vatican City

Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, Australian Cardinal George Pell, Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah, and Philippines Cardinal Luis Tagle are among the 15 prelates who will be planning and organizing the next global meeting of Catholic bishops.

The four bishops will be part of a group preparing the next Synod of Bishops, following conclusion of the closely watched three-week Synod held at the Vatican last month on issues of family life.

The group, known as the Synod’s ordinary council, helps the Vatican’s office for the Synod in planning for the next gathering. According to the rules governing the meetings, 12 of the new members were elected by the 2015 Synod and three were appointed by Pope Francis.

While the names of the 12 elected members had been circulating for some time, the Vatican only confirmed the composition of the council in a press release Saturday.

Although it remains unknown when Francis might convoke the next Synod, they are traditionally held every three years. Members of the 2015 Synod were also asked to submit suggestions for the theme of the next gathering, which the new council will consider before submitting several options to the pope.

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Before Chaput, two Americans had served on the previous iteration of the Synod council: Cardinals Timothy Dolan of New York and Donald Wuerl of Washington.

The full list of those elected to the council by the members of the 2015 Synod:

  • Austrian Cardinal Christoph Schönborn;
  • South African Cardinal Wilfrid Napier;
  • Honduran Cardinal Óscar Rodríguez Maradiaga;
  • Ghanaian Cardinal Peter Turkson;
  • Australian Cardinal George Pell;
  • Canadian Cardinal Marc Ouellet;
  • Indian Cardinal Oswald Gracias;
  • Philippines Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle;
  • British Cardinal Vincent Nichols;
  • Guinean Cardinal Robert Sarah;
  • U.S. Archbishop Charles Chaput;
  • Italian Archbishop Bruno Forte.

The three members of the council chosen by Francis:

  • Chaldean Catholic Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako;
  • Spanish Archbishop Carlos Osoro Sierra;
  • Brazilian Archbishop Sérgio da Rocha

[Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. His email address is jmcelwee@ncronline.org. Follow him on Twitter: @joshjmac.]

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