Letter Number Twenty-Three

This will be the last in this series of LETTERS FROM THE SYNOD, and the final words must be expressions of thanks to all who helped make this exercise in “theological journalism,” as we described it in LETTER ONE, possible. The editors of the cooperating publications—Matthew Schmitz and R.R. . . . . Continue Reading »

Special Edition VI

Within ninety minutes of the Te Deum being sung at the end of Synod-2015’s last working day, controversy broke out over the meaning of the three paragraphs in the Synod final report that had received the largest number of negative votes from the Synod fathers, although not the 1/3 necessary to block their inclusion in the final text.

Letter Number Twenty-Two

In the morning, the Synod fathers will hear a revised draft of the Synod’s final report, constructed in light of yesterday’s general assembly debate and the written amendments submitted by the fathers. The fathers will then vote on the revised document, paragraph by paragraph, in the afternoon. It is not yet clear whether the document that results from that voting process will be publicly released, or when.

Special Edition V

The Relatio Finalis [final report] of Synod-2015, adopted this evening by the Synod Fathers, is a massive and encouraging improvement over the Instrumentum Laboris [working document] that was the baseline for the Synod’s work. The tremendous difference between the two documents illustrates just how fruitful a path the Synod walked over three sometimes-challenging weeks.

Letter Number Twenty-One

The general assembly of the Synod of Bishops heard the draft of a final report on Synod-2015 on the afternoon of October 22. The general assembly will hear interventions on the draft final report this morning, and the Synod members will submit modi—proposes for alterations—in writing. The drafting commission will revise the draft final report on Friday afternoon, presumably taking account of the modi and the oral interventions in response to the draft.

Letter Number Twenty

Today is the liturgical memorial of Pope St. John Paul II, aptly described by Pope Francis during the canonization homily last year as “the Pope of the Family.” Several aspects of John Paul’s experience of the family, teaching about the family, and defense of the family seem worth a reflection on this special day of gratitude for his life and witness, as Synod-2015 begins its last seventy-two hours work.

Letter Number Nineteen

The schedule for the remainder of Synod-2015 has been changed by the Synod general secretariat. On Tuesday evening, October 20, the reporters from the various language-based discussion groups met to review the modi, the proposed amendments/deletions/alterations, to Part III of the Synod’s working document, a task to be completed by noon on Wednesday.

Letter Number Eighteen

Recent comments about the letter given to Pope Francis by thirteen members of the College of Cardinals on the first working day of Synod-2015 have, unfortunately, continued a controversy that should have been put to rest several days ago. Some reflections on the functions of cardinals in the Catholic Church, and the exercise of those functions in this case, are thus in order.

Letter Number Seventeen

Here is the calendar for the third week of Synod-2015: Monday, October 19: Discussion in the thirteen language-based circuli minores from 0900 to 1230, and then again from 1630 to 1900.  Tuesday, October 20: Discussion in the circuli minores from 0900 to 1230, followed by a general assembly (from 1630-1900), during which the Synod will hear reports from the discussion groups

Letter Number Sixteen

Cardinal George Pell (b. 1941) was educated at the Pontifical Urban University and Oxford University, where he earned the doctorate in history after being ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of Balarat. After extensive pastoral work in his native Australia, he was named auxiliary bishop of Melbourne, and later Archbishop of Melbourne, before being appointed Archbishop of Sydney in 2001. Continue Reading »