The Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops will meet on 18 and 19 November to reflect on the results of the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, held during October, and to prepare for the 14 th General Ordinary Assembly on the theme “The vocation and the mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world”, to be held from 4 to 25 October 2015.
The Holy Father will chair the Council on Tuesday 18 and his presence will underline the importance he accords to the Synod as an expression of episcopal collegiality and to the family, the theme of the two Assemblies: the extraordinary Assembly held this year and the Ordinary one, in the preparatory stages.
Alongside the secretary general, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, and the under-secretary, Archbishop Fabio Fabene, the meeting was attended by Cardinals Christoph Schonborn, Wilfried F. Napier, Peter K.A. Turkson, George Pell, Donald W. Wuerl, and Luis A. Tagle, and by Archbishops Bruno Forte and Salvatore Fisichella. Bishop Vincenzo Paglia, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, also participated by invitation.
In his introduction to the work of the Synod, the secretary general emphasised the climate of freedom and sincerity and the spirit of fraternal communion that characterised the Assembly, in which everyone was encouraged to contribute. Also, the final document, the Relatio Synodi, faithfully reflects the multi-faceted results of the Synod and offers a good summary of the process that took place during the Assembly.
In the meeting, it was agreed that the current period between the two Assemblies, which is unprecedented in the history of the Synod as an institution, is of great importance. It is necessary to take the path followed so far as a starting point and to make the most of this special opportunity to deepen knowledge of the themes and to promote discussion at the level of the episcopal conferences, finding the means and the tools necessary to further involve various ecclesial bodies in the synodal reflection on the family. Various ideas on communication were also considered, which may be useful in view of the preparation for the upcoming Ordinary Assembly.
The majority of the work was devoted to the preparation of the Lineamenta for the next Ordinary Assembly. The guidelines will be made up, as previously indicated, of the Relatio Synodi, accompanied by a series of points to help in its reception and elaboration.
The Lineamenta are expected to be sent to the Episcopal Conferences at the beginning of December, so that the answers can be received in good time to allow them to be developed in the Instrumentum Laboris before the summer of 2015.