Synod working document not Church teaching

Bazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes clarified the working document’s purpose for the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon.

It is is not official church teaching, he says.

It is a way for bishops to listen to the local church’s concerns.

The working document ( also called the Instrumentum Laboris) “isn’t a document of the synod, it is for the synod,” Hummes told journalists.

“It is the voice of the local church, the voice of the church in the Amazon: of the church, of the people, of the history and of the very earth, the voice of the earth,” he said.

Hummes and Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, responded to a journalist’s questions about criticisms against the synod and its working document.

The Vatican-based synod, which began on Sunday and will continue for most of this month, will focus on “Amazonia: New paths for the church and for an integral ecology.”

In June, German Cardinal Walter Brandmuller published an essay in which he accused the synod’s working document of being heretical.

This is because it refers to the rainforest as a place of divine revelation, he wrote.

He also criticized the synod for its plans to get involved in social and environmental affairs.

Other critics, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke and Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan, voiced similar accusations in a released on 12 September.

In this, they cited “serious theological errors and heresies” in the synod’s working document.

In response, Baldisseri said, “if there is a cardinal or a bishop who does not agree, who sees that there is content that does not correspond (to church teaching), well then, in the meantime I would say that it is necessary to listen and not judge because it isn’t a magisterial document.”

Baldisseri explained while he believes everyone should be free to express their disagreement, he also thinks it is inappropriate “that a judgment should be made about a document that isn’t a pontifical document.

“This is just a working document that will be given to the synod fathers,” he said.

“And that will be the basis to begin the work and build the final document from zero. It’s also known as a ‘martyred document.’”

Hummes said the synod’s working document arose from the church’s desire to listen to the local church in the Amazon.

“The church didn’t do it for the sake of doing it to only ignore them,” he daid.

“No! If it was done, it was so that (the church) could to listen to them. This is the synodal path: to seriously listen.”


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