A Mid-Way Check on Synod Progress

Cardinal Notes Whole Church Is Gathered

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 14, 2009 (Zenit.org).- With a 23-section analysis, the main themes of the synod on Africa have been presented by the relator-general in the “Report After the Discussion.” Topics range from women’s issues, to the family, to poverty and AIDS.

Cardinal Peter Turkson, the archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, delivered the “Relatio post disceptationem” on Tuesday afternoon; Benedict XVI was an attentive listener.

The cardinal began by recalling that it is “the universal Church which is gathered in synod about her presence in Africa — [the] Church in Africa.”

“This is,” he thus clarified, “an exercise of a universal Family of God and a Mystical Body belonging together and sharing a common life in Christ.”

“It is, therefore, not an exclusive African affair and assembly with non-African participants,” Cardinal Turkson explained. “It is rather the universal Church’s discernment about how to keep Africa’s enormous spiritual lung healthy for humanity, in fulfillment of her mission as salt and light.”

Reconciliation, justice, peace

With this report, the first part of the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops is concluded. The meeting began Oct. 4 and concludes Oct. 25.

The report gathers the interventions offered by the synod fathers and other participants during the first 13 plenary sessions.

Cardinal Turkson summarized the 195 interventions into 23 principle sections. He noted that the synod’s contributors have made frequent reference to the lights and accomplishments in the last 15 years, when the first synod on Africa was held under Pope John Paul II.

Much of the report revolves around the three principle ideas of the synod — reconciliation, justice and peace — which are drawn from the theme: “The Church in Africa at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace.’You Are the Salt of the Earth … You Are the Light of the World’ (Matthew 5:13-14).”

The report concludes with 25 questions as guidelines for the working groups, which, starting today, are to prepare proposals that will be taken to the plenary sessions for approval. Later, they will be presented to the Holy Father.

There are 12 working groups, which have been organized according to the four official languages of the synod.

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On ZENIT’s Web page:

Full text of the “Relatio post disceptationem”: www.zenit.org/article-27196?l=english

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