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Breaking News; Kasper, Danneels, Schonborn, Cupich, Wuerl and Maradiaga appointed by Pope Francis to 2015 Synod

The finalized, complete list of participants in the Synod of Bishops in 2015 was published in today's Vatican Bollettino: XIV General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (October 4 to 25 2015) - List of Participants, 15/09/2015.

In addition to the Synod officers (who are all hold-overs from last year's "Extraordinary Synod"), delegates elected by the Bishops' Conferences and the Union of Superior Generals and confirmed by the Pope as Synod members months ago, and ex officio participants (the heads of the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Prefects or Presidents of Curial dicasteries), the final list contains the names of prelates appointed by the Pope (as is his prerogative) as members of the Synod. This is the first time that the list of direct papal appointees to the Synod of 2015 has been officially published, although rumors have been circulating for weeks about the impending appointment of Archbishop Cupich.

(Members of the "Council of Cardinals" are not ex officio members of the Synod, and of its nine members two have not been made members of the Synod either by election or papal appointment - Cardinal O'Malley of Boston, USA and Cardinal Errazuriz Ossa of Chile.)

Among those attending the Synod due solely to papal appointment are the following liberals or "moderates": Cardinals Godfried Danneels, Walter Kasper, Christoph Schonborn OP, Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga SDB, John Dew (a vocal supporter of communion for the "divorced and remarried" long before the current Pontificate), Donald Wuerl, Dionigi Tettamanzi (former Archbishop of Milan who last year emerged as a supporter of Kasper's proposal) and Daniel Sturla SDB (more about him here); Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernández, Rector of the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina and one of the Pope's closest advisers and ghostwriters; Archbishop Blase Cupich of Chicago (USA), and Msgr. Pio Vito Pinto (Dean of the Roman Rota and head of the Pope's commission for annulment reform).

They add to the liberal-leaning representatives elected by their respective bishops' conferences to be Synod members and already confirmed by Pope Francis (as we reported in June): Bishop Johan Bonny of Antwerp (Belgium), Bishop Jean-Paul Vesco OP of Oran (Algeria), "Shadow Synod" participants Bishop Jean-Marie Lovey of Sion (Switzerland), Archbishop Georges Pontier and Bishop Jean-Luc Brunin of France; the three German delegates and "Shadow Synod" participants Cardinal Marx, Archbishop Koch and Bishop Bode; Cardinal Mario Poli of Buenos Aires (Argentina), Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin (Ireland), and Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster (England & Wales). 

Notable as well among the attendees are Rev. Fr. François-Xavier Dumortier SJ (Rector of the Pontifical Gregorian University, which played host to the "Shadow Synods" of May and September) and Rev. Fr. Antonio Spadaro SJ, Director of the La Civilta Cattolica and a leading proponent of the new pastoral direction of the current Pontificate. Fr. Dumortier is the only Rector of a Pontifical University among the delegates. 

Among the more conservative-leaning papal appointees (at least when it comes to the Kasper proposal) are Cardinals Carlo Caffarra of Bologna, Timothy Dolan of New York, Gualtiero Bassetti (Archbishop of Perugia-Città della Pieve), and Elio Sgreccia, president emeritus of the Pontifical Academy for Life and one of the most prominent members of the Wojtylian old guard in the fight against the "culture of death". Cardinals Philippe Ouédraogo (Archbishop of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso) and Alberto Suárez Inda (Archbishop of Morelia, Mexico) are also reckoned among the conservatives.

As expected, Cardinal Burke is not a Synod Father this time around.