To address noticeable tensions, American Catholics want Church leaders to foster unity through promoting interculturality and greater co-responsibility, and for them to better articulate Church teaching, according to the latest synod synthesis report for the American Church.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on May 28 published the “National Synthesis of the People of God in the United States of America for the Interim Stage,” which summarizes the responses of more than 35,000 Catholics taken during more than 1,000 diocesan listening sessions over Lent.

The U.S. synod team said 76 percent of American dioceses and eparchies submitted reports. There were also 15 separate listening sessions held that focused on Church life, social justice, and vocations, in which over 350 people participated. The American bishops met for a synod listening session, as well.

The 20-page report identifies both sources of tensions and desires expressed by American Catholics.

One area of tension is a feeling of some Catholics that the traditions of the Church are changing. The report also notes that many participants said that a lack of clarity from Church leadership about “our truth” creates confusion, which “is leading to frustration and division among the faithful.”

“Numerous reports from the listening sessions cited instances of communication, both from the hierarchy and from secular and Catholic media, which reflect and perpetuate division within the universal Church and send conflicting messages of what it means to be Catholic,” the report states. “When the communication of the Church is not clear and consistent, it becomes an obstacle to the mission.”

Another source of tension is Catholic social teaching, with participants expressing “concerns that the Church has allowed the ongoing polarization and conflict to lead to a denial of the Church’s social magisterium in many situations.” Similarly, a source of tension, according to the report, is a disagreement on how the Church should balance a “welcoming spirit” with a need to articulate Church teaching.