Working paper for the Catholic World Synod in late May

Working paper for the Catholic World Synod in late May Kathpress

Vatican City, 20/04/2023 (KAP) At the end of May the working document for the world synod on new forms of participation in the Catholic Church will be published. So announced the number two of the secretariat of the Vatican synod, Sr. Nathalie Becquart, at a press conference at the Vatican on Thursday. It is uncertain whether the names of voting and advisory participants will be known by then, she said. Appointments are not just a matter for the respective episcopal conference, but also for the pope.

Becquart said the synod’s continental assemblies, which ended in March, were the “most innovative element” of the new world synod. The final documents, now accessible on the Internet, testify to the richness and also the diversity of different approaches and cultures. Now, a team of around 20 experts from all continents has begun to draft the working document (Instrumentum Laboris) for the synodal meeting in Rome through “spiritual discernment”.

Earlier in the week, the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) also published the final document of the European Continental Synod, which took place from 5 to 9 February 2023 in Prague. The document is available in English and Italian at Final documents from other continental assemblies around the world can also be found there.

Australian Archbishop Timothy Costelloe emphasized at the Vatican press conference on Thursday that the Catholic Church must be grateful for its internal differences. She is learning that unity is not synonymous with uniformity. Some of the final documents produced by the Continental Assemblies are “wonderful texts” that deserve to be read and implemented in parishes and dioceses.

Costelloe explained that the synod assemblies in Rome in October 2023 and 2024 will not address specific substantive issues. Instead, the Church will try at these meetings to find a new synodal method for dealing with these issues in the future and reaching decisions.

“We are learning to become one church in the synodal process and discussions,” added Sr. Becquart at the press conference. You are on a journey that has yet to unfold and it would be too soon “to really expect answers or decisions right now”.

Father Hyacinthe Destivelle, of the Vatican Dicastery for Christian Unity, informed media representatives about initiatives in which, within the framework of the World Synod, there was also an exchange on synodality with Christians from other churches. To this end, several conferences were held in Rome in 2022 and 2023 in cooperation with the Pro Oriente Foundation of Vienna and the Institute of Ecumenical Studies (IES) of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum). According to Destivelle, more than 100 experts from different Christian traditions reported on the synodal experiences of their churches.