EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — A gathering of clergy is underway in Vatican City, the 2023 General Assembly of the Synod of the Bishops at the Vatican began Wednesday with some of the more controversial topics the catholic church has been facing in recent times.

The Synod which is a gathering of the bishops is looking to be a historic one this year after Pope Francis answered some questions on Monday from the five cardinals.

As the synod begins, the catholic faith could see some changes in the near future, and local churchgoers in the area have their own take on his responses.

One of the questions the five cardinals asked regarded the church’s stance on blessings for same-sex unions in the church, Pope Francis responded:

“We cannot be judges who only deny, reject, and exclude.”

“I would not agree to that, that’s not part of the catholic theology,” said Patrick Williams of Clarks Summit.

“I’m old school and I like the way it was before and he’s too progressive for me,” stated Helen Marini of Lake Ariel.

Another response Pope Francis gave that sparked discussion was the idea of women in higher positions in the church.

“It will be difficult to accept that the priesthood is reserved only for men, and we will not be able to recognize the rights of women or the need for them to participate in various ways in the leadership of the church,” said Pope Francis.

“And especially now around here we don’t have enough priests or deacons, so if the women can do it, I know we can do it, if they’re willing to do it, let’s go, said Dee Dunn of Dunmore.

This is also the first Synod where women and laypeople can vote.

Now the Synod just began Wednesday and it’s three weeks long so it is just getting started.