Ordinary Council Meets to Prepare Next Year's Synod

Pope Francis Presides Over 1st Meeting

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The Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops met Tuesday and Wednesday to discuss the Extraordinary General Synod in October and to prepare for the 15th Ordinary General Assembly, which is set to take place next Oct. 4-25.

The theme of the upcoming synod will be: The Vocation and Mission of the Family in the Church and in the Contemporary World.

According to a communique released by the Vatican press office, the first day of this week’s meetings was presided over by Pope Francis. The Pope, the communique stated, “stressed the importance of the synod as an expression of episcopal collegiality and to the family.”

Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the Secretary General of the Synod, also addressed the Council, noting “the freedom, sincerity and spirit of fraternal communion that characterized the [recent] Synodal assembly.”

“Additionally, the final document, the Relatio Synodi reflects faithfully with its nuances, the results of the Synod and is presented as a good summary of the process made during the Assembly,” the communique stated.

The council also discussed the importance of this period between the two Synods. This period will be spent studying the issues presented at the Extraordinary Synod and for further discussions with the episcopal conferences.

The prelates further prepared the Lineamenta, a series of main points that will lead the discussions of the upcoming Extraordinary Synod. The outline will be sent out to the Episcopal Conferences in December and will be further developed in the working document, also known as the Instrumentum Laboris.

The Instrumentum Laboris is expected to be released before the summer next year.

The cardinals present at the meeting were Cardinals Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna (Austria); Wilfried F. Napier, archbishop of Durban (South Africa), Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, George Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy, Donald W. Wuerl, archbishop of Washington, D.C., and Luis A. Tagle, archbishop of Manila (Philippines).

Archbishop Vicenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, was also invited to the two-day session.

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