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The next Synod assembly will be from October 2 to 27, 2024

Synod 2023 - General Congregation - Instrumentum Laboris/B2

Antoine Mekary | ALETEIA

I.Media - published on 02/23/24

Pope Francis has set the dates for the second General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Synod on Synodality, and called for Curia-Synod cooperation.

Pope Francis has set the dates for the second session of the Synod Assembly on the Future of the Church (also called the Synod on Synodality) to be October 2 to 27, 2024. The Holy See Press Office announced the dates February 17.

To prepare for this event, the Pontiff issued on the same day a document enjoining the Roman Curia to strengthen its collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Synod, an entity to which he has also appointed five new consultors.

One year after the first assembly, the work of the Synod — the exact title of which is “For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission” — will resume with a two-day spiritual retreat for participants from September 30 to October 1. Participants are expected in Rome on September 29.

Cooperation between the Curia and the Synod

Coinciding with this announcement, Pope Francis published a chirograph (a letter written and signed by the pope) “on collaboration between the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and the General Secretariat of the Synod.”

This legislative text refers to the Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium (2022) reforming the Curia, which stressed the importance of the various divisions of the Curia working together, and not just in their own areas of competence.

In addition to this “interdicasteriality,” the Apostolic Constitution also encouraged dicasteries to collaborate with the Synod of Bishops, a consultative body established by Pope Paul VI in 1965, which is not an integral part of the Roman Curia. Presided over by the Bishop of Rome, this body is directed by a general secretariat headed by Cardinal Mario Grech.

However, the constitution stated that the Pope should define “modalities” for collaboration. This has now been done, with the dicasteries being invited to set up “study groups” tasked with examining in greater depth certain “themes that emerged” during the first assembly last October. The Synod secretariat is in charge of coordinating these groups, which must be set up in agreement with the dicasteries.

Working towards “synodal conversion”

The themes on which these groups will work are not specified in the chirograph, but an article on the official Vatican News website mentions “the need to update some canonical norms, formation of ordained ministers, relationships between bishops and religious orders, and theological and pastoral research on the diaconate.”

This is yet another sign of the real importance Pope Francis attaches to the Synod of Bishops. He sees it as an instrument that is meant not only to occasionally organize synodal assemblies, its original mission, but also to oversee a “synodal conversion” of the Catholic Church and its structures as a whole, as he established in the apostolic constitution Episcopalis communio promulgated in 2018. Another concrete example of this evolution is the fact that a stopover in the offices of the Synod secretariat has recently become compulsory for all bishops visiting Rome during their ad limina visit.

5 New consultants

To support the members of the General Secretariat, who have been particularly busy in recent months, the Pontiff has appointed five new consultors. These include three women academics, two of whom are lay people.

The new consultors are Canadian theologian and priest Gilles Routhier from the University of Laval, theologian and religious sister Birgit Weiler from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, sociologist of religion Tricia Bruce from the University of Notre Dame (USA), and theologian Clara Lucchetti Bingemer from the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil). Fr. Alphonse Borras, Episcopal Vicar of the Diocese of Liège in Belgium and professor emeritus of canon law at the Catholic University of Louvain, has also been appointed Consultor.

Tags:
Pope FrancisSynodVatican
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