TribuneBishop Vicente Jiménez Zamora

Synod moves towards October 2024

The Synod on Synodality has entered a new stage of its journey with the constitution of study groups for specific topics. A new step on this path of rediscovery of the nature and mission of the Church.

April 1, 2024-Reading time: 3 minutes

The Synod on Synodality continues its journey towards the second session in October 2024. As a result of the first session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for October 2023has been the Synthesis Report (IdS), which constitutes the reference document for the work of the People of God between the two sessions. The Synthesis Report consists of three parts and twenty chapters. Each chapter contains the convergencesthe issues to be addressed and the proposals  dialogue.

During the time between the two sessions we are invited to keeping the synodal dynamism alive in the local ChurchesThe project has involved the entire People of God in recent years, so that an ever-increasing number of lay people, members of consecrated life and pastors can live it directly, starting from a fundamental and guiding question: ¿What is the best way to achieve this goal?How to to be a synodal Church in mission?

The synodal work in this phase is articulated on three complementary levels: local Church; groupings of Churches (regional, national and continental); and the whole Church in the relationship between the primacy of the Bishop of Rome, episcopal collegiality and ecclesial synodality.

The deepening of these three levels should be done according to transversal principles: the mission of evangelization as the driving force and raison d'être of the Church; the promotion of participation in the mission of all the baptized; the articulation between the local and the universal; the spiritual character of the entire synodal process.

Pope Francis, in a letter addressed to the Secretary General of the Synod, Msgr. Mario Grech, (22.02.2024) indicates the path to follow before the celebration of the second session of the Synod in October 2024. 

The Pope affirms that the The Synthesis Report "lists numerous important theological questions, all related in varying degrees to the synodal renewal of the Church and not lacking in juridical and pastoral implications [...] Such questions, by their very nature, require in-depth study. Since it is not possible to carry out this study in the time of the second session (October 2-27, 2024), the Pope disposes that they be assigned to specific Study Groups in order to be able to examine them adequately".

In order to comply with this disposition and mandate of the Holy Father, the General Secretariat of the Synod (14.03.2024) has published the document: Study Groups on topics arising from the first session to deepen in collaboration with the Dicasteries of the Roman Curia.

To this end, study groups are being formed to study in depth the ten themes indicated by Pope Francis. They are the following: 1) Some aspects concerning the relationships between the Eastern Catholic Churches and the Latin Church (IdS 6). 2) Listening to the cry of the poor (IdS 4 y 16). 3) The mission in the digital space (IdS 17). 4) The revision of the Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis in synodal missionary perspective (IdS 11). 5) Some theological and canonical questions regarding the specific ministerial forms (IdS 8 y 9). 6) The revision, in a synodal and missionary perspective, of the documents on the relationships between Bishops, Consecrated Life, Ecclesial Aggregations (IdS 10). 7) Some aspects of the figure and ministry of the Bishop (in particular: the criteria for the selection of candidates for the episcopate, the judicial function of the Bishop, the nature and development of the visitations, the role of the Bishop in the episcopate, the role of the bishop, and the nature and development of the bishop's ministry). ad limina Apostolorum) in a synodal missionary perspective (IdS 12 y 13). 8) The role of the Pontifical Representatives from a missionary synodal perspective (IdS 13). 9) Theological criteria and synodal methodologies for a shared discernment of controversial doctrinal, pastoral and ethical issues (IdS 15). 10) The reception of the fruits of the ecumenical journey in ecclesial praxis (IdS 7).

In addition, in the service of the synodal process in the broader sense, the General Secretariat of the Synod will activate a Permanent Forum to deepen the theological, canonical, pastoral, spiritual and communicative aspects of the synodality of the Church, also to respond to the request of "to promote, in an appropriate place, the theological work of terminological and conceptual deepening of the notion and practice of synodality." (IdS 1p). In carrying out this task, he will be assisted by the International Theological Commission, the Pontifical Biblical Commission and a Commission on Canon Law established at the service of the Synod in agreement with the Dicastery for Legislative Texts.

With the convocation of the Synod of Bishops, Pope Francis invites the whole Church to question herself on a decisive theme for her life and mission. The synodal itinerary, which is along the lines of the "aggiornamento" of the Church proposed by the Second Vatican Council is a gift and a task: walking together, the Church will be able to learn to live communion, to realize participation and to open herself to mission. The synodal journey manifests and realizes the nature of the Church as the pilgrim and missionary People of God.

The authorBishop Vicente Jiménez Zamora

Apostolic Administrator of the dioceses of Huesca and Jaca. Coordinator of the Synodal Team of the EEC for the Synod of Bishops.

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