Summary of Working Groups Discussion at Synod of Bishops

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 22, 2012 ( Here is the summary of what took place on Saturday during the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Faith.

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Today, Saturday, October 20 2012, at 9:00 a.m, with the chant of the Hour of Terce, the Eighteenth General Congregation began for the first ballot for the XIII Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops, and for the presentation of the Draft of the Message and for discussion on the Message .

President delegate on duty H. Em. Card. Francisco ROBLES ORTEGA, Archbishop of Guadalajara (MEXICO).

At this General Congregation, which ended at 11:00 am with the prayer of Pater Noster 250 Fathers were present.

After the Congregation, the Synodal Fathers went to the Clementine Hall of the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican to participate at the presentation at 11:30 am of the 2012 Ratzinger Prize. Promoted by the “Joseph Ratzinger-Benedict XVI” Vatican Foundation and on its second edition, this year the prize was given by the Holy Father to the French philosopher and historian Rémi Brague and to the United States theologian Brian Daley.


At the opening of the General Congregation the first voting in electronic form took place for the election of the 12 Members of the XIII Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops (3 Members for the Continents: Europe, Africa, America and Asia-Oceania).
The Ordinary General Council of the Secretariat of the Synod of Bishops is formed after each Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. It is composed of 15 members, of these 12 are elected by the Synod itself, keeping in mind the representation of Bishops throughout the world, and three are nominated by the Roman Pontiff.

The election of its Members is done through a secret ballot which is juridically effective when, subtracting the invalid ballots, an absolute majority of votes in favor of one person is reached, or after a first ineffective ballot, the second voting is decided by relative majority. If, however, the votes are equal, the matter proceeds according to the norms of canon 119, 1°, in The Code of Canon Law.

The Bishops elected to the Council of the General Secretariat retain their proper position until the beginning of a new Ordinary General Assembly.

The Council of the General Secretariat is to give assistance to the General Secretary: in examining all proposals by the Synod of Bishops and the Council of the Hierarchy of the Eastern Catholic Churches, the Episcopal Conferences, the Departments of the Roman Curia and the Union of Superiors General on the questions to be treated at the Synod; in preparing the work for discussion at the next assembly of the Synod; in offering advice for the practice of what was proposed by the Synod and approved by the Roman Pontiff; and finally, to see to other questions which the Roman Pontiff will have assigned to them.

The members of the Council of the General Secretariat are convoked by the General Secretary twice a year and in addition, as often as may be deemed opportune, subject to the judgment of the Roman Pontiff.


Afterwards, His Em. Card. Giuseppe BETORI, Archbishop of Florence (ITALY), President of the Commission for the Message, intervened, for the reading of the draft of the Message.

At Synodal assemblies, it has been the practice to publish a Message (Nuntius) addressed to the People of God, with special reference to the categories of persons directly involved with the Synod’s theme. The” Nuntius,” of a pastoral type, has the purpose of encouraging the People of God to respond faithfully to their special vocation, as well as to praise them for the efforts already made.


After the break, a discussion took place on the draft of the Message, presented by the President of the Commission for the Preparation of the Message.

After having gathered the observations of the Assembly during the general discussion in the Hall, the Commission for the Message will prepare the definitive text which will be submitted to the Assembly for its approval. The definitive text of the Message will be published at the end of the Synod’s work, in Italian, French, English, Spanish and German.

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