IL2: Work in Progress

IL2: Work in Progress
© Osservatore Romano

Meeting of the Ordinary Council of the General Secretariat of the Synod

Vatican, 25 June 2024


On 23-24 June 2024, the members of the XV Ordinary Council*, accompanied by some Consultors of the General Secretariat of the Synod, met in person and by videoconference to discuss a first version of the Instrumentum Laboris (IL), the working document for the Second Session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

Following the meeting of theologians earlier this month (4-14 June 2024) who worked through the reports received** from the General Secretariat, an initial version of the future document was drafted. In addition to the members of the Council, this first text was also sent to some seventy people, representing the entire People of God (priests, consecrated men and women, lay people, representatives of ecclesial realities, theologians, pastoral workers and a significant number of pastors) from all over the world, of various ecclesial sensitivities and from different theological "schools".

"We wanted to carry out this wide-ranging consultation in order to remain consistent with the principle of circularity (what comes from the grassroots returns to the grassroots) that animated the entire synod process. This verification of the drafted material in the light of the reports received is also intended to be an exercise, on the part of the General Secretariat, of that accountability that characterises a synodal Church and which, I am sure, will testify to the authenticity of the synod's work," explained Cardinal Mario Grech, Secretary General of the General Secretariat of the Synod.

The meeting also included a discussion on the progress of the synod process, particularly of this interim time between the two sessions of the Assembly. From the reports of the Council members, there emerged a general sense of gratitude and trust for the path that had been taken. The Synthesis Report of the First Session was well received by the local communities because it was faithful to the fruits of their listening. The initiative to convene parish priests in Rome was also much appreciated, not only because it respected an indication given by the Assembly in October 2023, but because the meeting allowed the more than 200 parish priests gathered in Sacrofano, now invested by Pope Francis with a real mandate as synodal missionaries, to really listen. Finally, many underlined the appreciation that the method of conversation in the Spirit has found in many ecclesial realities, so much so that it has been adopted in many dioceses as a 'working' method in diocesan and parish councils, and even in meetings of Episcopal Conferences. "It is the most beautiful gift of this synod," said one of the participants.

This year's work, despite the short time available, helped the faithful understand that this synod is not about solving this or that problem, but is about synodality and about entering into a dynamic of pastoral conversion, of a style of being and living the Church’s mission, trusting in the support of the Holy Spirit. Finally, there was a clear invitation to link the current synodal process more closely to the path of preparation for the Jubilee, first and foremost through prayer.

On the morning of Monday 24 June, the Council members were received in audience by Pope Francis who encouraged them to continue their work. The participants also approved an outline programme for the next assembly. The work was supported by the common celebration of the Eucharist.

After the work of the Council and the wide-ranging review, a new version of the IL will be drafted and sent back to the Ordinary Council for approval. The new document will then be submitted to the Holy Father for final approval.

The text is expected to be published within the first ten days of July. Information on this will be provided in due course.


* Members of the Ordinary Council take office at the end of the Ordinary General Assembly that elected them. They are members of the following Ordinary General Assembly and cease to hold office when the latter is dissolved.


** As of 24 June 2024, reports have been received from 108 of 114 Bishops' Conferences and from 9 of 14 Eastern Catholic Churches as well as from the USG-UISG (respectively the International Union of Major Superiors of Men and the International Union of Superiors General of Women). In addition, over 200 observations have been received from international realities, university faculties, associations of the faithful or individual communities and persons, in addition to the reports presented by parish priests during the three-day working session of the Parish Priests for the Synod meeting.


This News release is also available in FRENCH and PORTUGUESE

25 June 2024, 09:33