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Update on the Synod on Synodality

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In the final week of the Synod on Synodality in Rome, all attention is focused on the eagerly awaited "Letter to the People of God." This tradition of the synod crafting such a missive to the faithful is not new, but this year's document aims to provide a fresh perspective. It diverges from the usual summary document slated for approval at the synod's conclusion and serves as a guiding compass for the synodal journey.

Photo credit: clarencealford

Photo credit: clarencealford

Paolo Ruffini, the prefect of the Dicastery for Communication, describes the summary as "transitional," while the letter is expected to illustrate the desired synodal trajectory, including significant topics like peace, migration, and alignment with the pope and papal magisterium, which have been passionately discussed in recent weeks.

Jesuit Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, the synod's general relator, has already outlined a "road map" for the synod's next phase in his opening address. Various proposals are to be gathered, although it remains uncertain whether new continental or local stages will follow.

The General Secretariat of the synod appears committed to having a strong and widespread presence in these processes. Therefore, everything will depend on the requests from the regional and continental bodies.

Discussions in smaller circles begin on October 23 after Mass and theological reflection. A review and vote on the letter will be followed by a reflective break until October 24, with the summary report commission meeting in the afternoon.

On October 25, the general congregation will convene to review the summary report outline provided by the general rapporteur. This will be followed by open discourse in the afternoon and a rosary in the Vatican Gardens.Amendments to the synthesis report will be deliberated on October 26 in smaller circles, and the next phase of the synodal process will be discussed in the general congregation in the afternoon.

After a break on October 27, the document will be reviewed in the hall on October 28, both in the morning and afternoon, culminating with its approval and concluding with the Te Deum.

As the synod approaches its conclusion, the Pope's call for confidentiality has maintained internal debates, but practical solutions to critical issues such as dwindling vocations and wavering faith, even in traditionally Catholic nations, are still elusive. On October 20, the synod hosted the second of two events at St. Peter's Basilica titled "Without Prejudice to the Primacy of the Chair of Peter: The Exercise of the Petrine Ministry in a Synodal Church." This event explored the delicate balance between papal primacy and Church reform within a synodal context.

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