Expect a streamlined and focused synod on the family

The upcoming extraordinary synod of bishops on the family will feature streamlined operations and new rules to help bishops grapple with the issues.

That’s what the synod’s general secretary, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, told the Catholic News Service.

The extraordinary synod from October 5-19 will be attended by presidents of bishops’ conferences, heads of eastern Catholic churches and Vatican officials.

There will also be a dozen or more voting members named by the Pope, three priests chosen by the Union of Superiors General, a dozen or more expert advisers, and about a dozen representatives of other Christian churches.

Also present will be up to 30 observers, more than half of whom will be married couples – who will be encouraged to address the assembly, Cardinal Baldisseri said.

The big change from past synods is that the voting members of the extraordinary synod will be asked to submit their presentations in writing at least two weeks before the meeting opens, the cardinal said.

“This is not to limit the discussion, but to help organise it,” he said.

The report opening the synod will be a first summary of the bishops’ submissions, instead of a rephrasing of the synod working document as in past synods, he added.

During the first week, instead of reading their presentations, the bishops will have “three or four minutes” in summary – focusing only on one theme – and, perhaps, include ideas or clarifications that have come from listening to their brother bishops, he said.

As the bishops address the assembly, the synod’s opening report will be modified to reflect the discussion.

At the end of the first week, the revised report will be presented to the assembly.

The second week of the synod will be taken up mainly by work in small groups organised according to language, Cardinal Baldisseri said.

The small groups will work, theme by theme, on amending the summary report.

This is likely to be used as the working document for the 2015 synod.

Cardinal Baldisseri cautioned that decisions about the Church’s pastoral approach to families are not expected until after the 2015 synod.


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , , ,