Thierry Bonaventura, a spokesperson of the Synod of Bishops, confirmed to CNA he had seen the reaction to the Facebook post. "This was an example of the contributions we received. Not only [the] texts but also some designs," Bonaventura wrote. "It was an example of what the listening consultation over the world has produced."
CNA also sought comment from McIntyre and the Philadelphia Catholic Higher Education Synod.
One of McIntyre’s images summarizes the synod and pictures students against the backdrop of the Philadelphia skyline. One element of local color is included: a small image of Gritty, the mascot of the National Hockey League’s Philadelphia Flyers.
It appears to be a visual summary of this synod: 48 listening sessions at 14 universities, 28 interracial sessions, and 27 interreligious meetings. Six young people sit in folding chairs. They are labeled as “Muslim,” “first-year education student,” “physics major,” “CLC leader,” “grad student,” and “Queer.”
The image records several statements, though it is unclear if they are direct quotations from synod participants. “Being Catholic is a crucial part of my identity,” says one. “It’s all about encounter with Christ,” reads another comment.
Other comments seem more critical. “I fear labeling myself Catholic because I don’t want to be thought of as ignorant,” says one. “The only woman leader in my church was in the choir,” said another. “I don’t want my future family to be excluded because I’m gay,” one comment says.
Another synod comment suggests more “coffee dates” with priests, religious, and campus ministers.
In another image, McIntyre appears to depict the Church as a refuge from all the tensions, divisions, and broken bonds of life. Yet another image depicts the threads of various identities, including racial, ethnic, and sexual identities, being woven into a single garment by hands captioned “God is Love.”
The synod’s summary report includes various views in tension or conflict.
Some students found joy in “a strong affiliation with a tradition with deep history in the midst of so much change provides comfort and clarity.” Others cited an “inability to be who you truly are in the church, being unhealthy, hurtful, wrong.” There was consensus on some matters like the need to “be animated by a God who loves recklessly and a Church defined by hospitality.”
Last updated on Sept 28. to include the reaction by the spokesperson of the Synod of Bishops.
(Story continues below)
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Kevin J. Jones is a senior staff writer with Catholic News Agency. He was a recipient of a 2014 Catholic Relief Services' Egan Journalism Fellowship.