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The Pope launches study groups on the issues arising from the Synod

El Papa pone en marcha grupos de estudio sobre los temas surgidos del Sínodo

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They will be coordinated by the General Secretariat, with the participation of the competent dicasteries. The second session will be held from October 2 to 27 and will be preceded by two days of retreat (September 30 - October 1).


Vatican News

The General Secretariat of the Synod announces that Pope Francis has set the dates of the second session of the XVI Ordinary General Assembly, which will take place from Wednesday, October 2 to Sunday, October 27, 2024, to continue the work of the Synod on Synodality around the theme "For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission". As happened in October 2023, this second session will be preceded by two days of spiritual retreat, from September 30 to October 1 (participants will arrive on September 29).

At the same time as the statement, a chirograph from the Pope was published establishing the formation of study groups to delve deeper into some of the issues that arose during the previous session. They will be established between the corresponding dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the General Secretariat of the Synod, which will coordinate them.

In the chirograph, dedicated to the collaboration between the curial dicasteries and the Secretariat of the Synod, Francis recalls that in the constitution on the Roman Curia Praedicate Evangelium it is read that "the life of communion gives the Church the face of synodality." And the task of the General Secretariat of the Synod is reiterated, which depends directly on the Pontiff and which "sustains and accompanies the synodal process established from time to time", favoring with a synodal spirit the relations of the bishops and the particular Churches among themselves and in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

The chirograph concludes by providing that "the dicasteries of the Roman Curia collaborate, according to their respective specific competencies, in the activity of the General Secretariat of the Synod, constituting study groups to begin, with a synodal method, the deepening of some of the issues that have arisen." in the first session of the Synod of Bishops. "These study groups will be established by common agreement between the competent dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the General Secretariat of the Synod, to which coordination is entrusted."

Already in the document "Towards October 2024" of the General Secretariat of the Synod, published on December 11, 2023, it was highlighted that the next assembly would focus on how to live synodality at all levels in the Church. Now, the Pope's decision makes it clear that some of the most significant themes arising from listening to the Churches require a consistent time of theological, canonistic and pastoral deepening according to a synodal modality in which experts from all continents and dicasteries participate. of the Roman Curia according to their powers. Currently, it is being defined which study groups will be created and on what topics. The summary report voted at the end of the session last October indicated some of them, such as the updating of some canonical norms, the training of ordained ministers, relations between bishops and religious orders, theological and pastoral research. about the diaconate.

The contributions of the study groups, from what can be deduced from the document of the General Secretariat published in December and from today's papal chirograph, will be useful instruments for the reflection of the Church as a whole, but they will not directly constitute the topic of discussion of the next session of the Synod, which will focus on synodality as such, an expression of communion in the life of the Church. Finally, it is interesting to note the role entrusted to the General Secretariat of the Synod, directed by Cardinal Mario Grech, who will coordinate the work with the dicasteries. An organization that is not part of the Roman Curia, but is also directly subordinate to the Pope.

Appointment of new consultants

Also today, Pope Francis has appointed six new consultants to the General Secretariat of the Synod, adding to the current ten. The new consultants are: Monsignor Alphonse Borras, episcopal vicar of the diocese of Liège (Belgium); Gilles Routhier, professor of Theology at Université Laval (Canada); Ormond Rush, Associate Professor of Theology at Australian Catholic University; Sister Birgit Weiler, MMS, professor of Theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru; Professor Tricia C. Bruce, President-elect of the Association for the Sociology of Religion; and Maria Clara Lucchetti Bingemer, professor of Theology at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro.

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