Presentation of the Instrumentum Laboris of the Synod

From the Official Vatican Network, News.Va:

Vatican City, 23 June 2015 (VIS) – This morning in the Holy See Press Office a press conference was held to present the Instrumentum Laboris of the 14th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the theme, “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and contemporary world” (4-25 October 2015). The speakers were: Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops; Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, general rapporteur of the 14th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops; and Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, Italy, special secretary of the 14th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops.

The Instrumentum Laboris, explained Cardinal Baldisseri, is divided into three parts following the structure of the Relatio Synodi, demonstrating the close link between the Third Extraordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in October 2014, dedicated to “The pastoral challenges of the family in the context of evangelisation”, and the upcoming Ordinary General Assembly. The first part, entitled “Listening to the challenges of the family”, relates most directly to last year’s Synod, while the second, “Discernment of the family vocation”, and third, “The mission of the family today”, introduce the theme of the next one.

The cardinal highlighted certain novelties in the first part, which refer principally to the anthropological-cultural, socio-economic and ecological contexts, “now happily enlightened by the new Encyclical letter Laudato si’”. The challenges, he explained, are “poverty and social exclusion, old age, widowhood, bereavement in the family, disability, migration, the role of women, emotional life and education in sexuality, and bioethics”.

In the second part, “Discernment of the family vocation”, the Relatio Synodi is enriched with an extension of the themes regarding natural marriage and sacramental fullness, indissolubility as a gift and a duty, family life, union and fruitfulness, the missionary dimension, faith, prayer, catechesis, the intimate bond between Church and family, the young and fear of marriage, and mercy.

The third part, devoted to “The mission of the family today”, begins with a broad-ranging reflection on the family and evangelisation, and explores in depth a number of other issues such as the family as subject of pastoral ministry, nuptial liturgy, renewed language and missionary openness.

The general secretary of the Synod of Bishops noted that it makes reference to “the family and ecclesial accompaniment, the streamlining of procedures for causes for annulment, the integration of faithful in irregular situations, the eventual introduction of a penitential route, the pastoral problems regarding mixed marriages and disparities of worship, as well as questions related to responsible procreation, reduction of births, adoption and fostering, respect for life from conception to natural end, and education of future generations.

“The reference to the economic hardship experienced by many families, who run the risk of being subject to usury, is very relevant”, he added, “as is the socio-political commitment of Christians in favour of the family, also in the international context. In this regard, it would be useful to re-propose the Charter for the Rights of the Family, linked to the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Man”.

Cardinal Baldisseri illustrated the work of the Secretariat of the Synod Council between one assembly and another, which began in November 2014 with the presentation of the “Lineamenta”, composed of the Relatio Synodi and a series of 46 questions relating to the reception and deepening of this Synod document. The “Lineamenta” was sent to the synods of the sui iuris Oriental Catholic Churches, to the Episcopal Conferences, to the dicasteries of the Roman Curia and others, with an invitation to respond by 15 April 2015. The Secretariat General received 99 answers from the competent bodies, along with 359 observations sent freely from dioceses, parishes, ecclesial associations, grass-roots groups of faithful, civil movements and organisations, etc. The inter-synodal period has thus been shown to be “a valuable opportunity for listening to what the Spirit says to the Church in the plurality of her components”.

Finally, with regard to the methodology of the upcoming General Assembly, it was mentioned that it is Ordinary and not Extraordinary like the previous one and, in accordance with the suggestions of the members of the Synod, “it will continue with the project of the development of the Synod taking a dynamic approach more suited to our times”.

The Synod fathers reiterated the need to avoid a “long series of individual interventions, as has happened in previous Synod assemblies, to ensure that they are better distributed in the time available and not presented one after another. The importance of the Circuli Minores was noted, as was the need to maintain the principle of thematic order. Thus, the three weeks of the Synod will be divided in correspondence with the three parts of the Instrumentum Laboris. The first week will be devoted to the first part of the document, the second to the discernment of the family vocation, and the third to the mission of the family today. “At the end of the third week, time will be set aside for the preparation of the final text of the document, which will be presented to the Assembly for the final modifications, to be inserted into the text before its final approval. The method will ensure the opportunity to intervene on the part of all those entitled to do so, including at the end of the day, and will enable more time to be assigned to the Circuli Minores. It is expected that a final document will be produced and consigned to the Holy Father”.

With regard to information during the Synod Assembly, the cardinal mentioned the Holy Father’s affirmation that “the Synod is a space in which the Holy Spirit can act, not parliament. The Synod Fathers are invited to express themselves with parrhesia. They will be free to communicate with the media at their discretion and with responsibility”.

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21 Responses to Presentation of the Instrumentum Laboris of the Synod

  1. ginnyfree says:

    Unfortunately, I find myself wondering if and when someone will “leak” a copy of it to the world for scrutiny. Yeah. I went there. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  2. johnhenrycn says:

    Cardinal Baldisseri mentions that amongst the topics to be discussed are “…the integration of faithful in irregular situations [and] the eventual introduction of a penitential route…”

    I hesitated before inserting the ‘[and]’. It may be that these two particular topics will be unrelated discussions at the Synod, but I actually think they will be part and parcel of a wider discussion about divorce and cohabitation. What sins are there that require the eventual introduction of a “penitential route” that Confession doesn’t already provide? I wonder if this proposed “penitential route” may be a back door for divorced and unmarried cohabiting persons to be admitted to the sacrament of communion without having to actually separate from their partners? I don’t think you have to own an Enigma machine to break the code message behind “penitential route”.


  3. ginnyfree says:

    Hello JH. ” I don’t think you have to own an Enigma machine to break the code message behind “penitential route” I’m no expert on codes or Cardinals, but I think what it boils down to is this: Priests for years have been dismissing the adultery of the divorced and remarried in the Confessional for years and are seeking a legitimacy for what they’ve been doing all along. I know of one woman who did exactly this: she’s on marriage number three and only one of the hubby’s is deceased, the middle one. She knew she couldn’t get an annulment for marriage number one, so she turned her back on the Church’s teaching and re-married anyway, that’s hubby number two. She stayed away from the Sacraments for a while, but then hubby number two died so she came back. It was when she met hubby number three that she thought she was in trouble. She still couldn’t get the annulment she’d tried to get from hubby number one BTW, but she’s fallen in love for the first time with hubby to be number three! They married and in the Church! How I asked and she said simple: she went to Confession and told the priest she didn’t feel there was a real marriage to hubby number one, etc. and he absolved the whole mess and told her to stay faithful to marriage number three and proceeded to marry them in the Church without any more talk about the nasty subject of annulments and all that archaic legalistic drivel. This worked so well, she is now a Eucharistic Minister for the priest who whitewashed the whole mess and is so happy she went to Confession and is back in the Church to stay now! Oh yippie! Sacrilege on sacrilege on sacrilege, but hey, she’s okay with it and so’s her priest. What she didn’t realize when she told me of this short route to Hell her priest gave her was that I knew she was never free of the first marriage to even date someone else, let alone actually marry and that I was on the other side of the problems they are having with all this Church teaching that really has lost its relevance regarding marriage these days of the no-fault divorce laws, etc. Yeah. So, I repeat. What some priests who have been resolving marriages this way for years hope to gain from the Synod and the Church is to have their own hands washed clean of the Blood of the Lamb they shed by this practice. THAT is what they mean when they talk of a “penitential route,” for the divorced and remarried. There ya, go JH, my spin on things. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  4. kathleen says:

    Yes JH – I quite agree with you! If you have listened to the two revealing interviews of Raymond Arroyo with Cardinal Kasper that I posted yesterday, you will see that little [and] you inserted into your opening quote is most appropriate. It appears that there are also others of a more (ahem) liberal* leaning who want to push forth a most unCatholic agenda at the next Synod.
    *(“Liberal” in the understanding of a free-thinking, anti-traditionalist, rather-Protestantised mindset. 😉 )


  5. toadspittle says:

    “…is so happy she went to Confession and is back in the Church to stay now! Oh yippie!”
    Disgraceful. Can’t have sinners being happy, and soiling the interior of the church with their presence, can we?
    Anyway, in the meantime, we can cheer ourselves up by thinking of her ultimately roasting in Hell for all eternity, while being prodded by demons with pitchforks.
    …So that’s all right. God bless. Toadspittle.


  6. Tom Fisher says:



  7. ginnyfree says:

    Hello Toad. I detect a pattern to your complaints………….I’m catching on. Happy are the toads in the pond, for they shall have flies galore……….happy are the tadpoles in the muck, for they shall one day see dry land………….happy are those who seek happiness as a life goal and right, they shall cuss all who get in their way………God bless. Ginnyfree.


  8. ginnyfree says:

    Sorry Tom, but I’m not sure what you mean. Can you give me a hint. I’m a little dense. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  9. toadspittle says:

    “Hello Toad. I detect a pattern to your complaints…”
    What “complaints,” Ginny? I make no complaints.
    Specify complaints, please.

    And we all love our neighbour as we love ourselves, don’t we?
    Got to. Mandatory.
    I certainly do.
    …You, particularly.


  10. ginnyfree says:

    Careful Toad, some find me hard to love. God bless. Ginnyfree.


  11. toadspittle says:

    You amaze me, Ginny. Some must want their brains tested.


  12. ginnyfree says:

    Toad, if I find my mind again I’ll be sure to get it tested. Ya know. Just to make sure it’s in shape or something. If you find a few of my missing marbles, FedEx them right away. i really need the ones I lost!


  13. toadspittle says:

    Heavens! Why should anyone in their right mind find Ginnyfree (or should that be Sinnyfree?) “hard to love”?
    I confess I’m more than somewhat puzzled.
    Admittedly, there did seem (but, only to me, perhaps) to be a just teeny-weeny-weeny bit of judging, and condemning, and vituperating, and first-stone-casting, and whited sepulchre-ing, and back-biting, and malicious gossiping – involved in her comment about her mortally sinful neighbour. Sort of stuff best left to God, I’d have thought. However, surely not nearly waspish and spiteful enough to render Ginny “unlovable” to anyone?

    …But what do I know? I’m only a toad. And I might be wrong.


  14. toadspittle says:

    The Curse of Toad: May a trolley-car grow in the stomach of the man who invented WordPress, with no edit function.

    GC: A blog commenterator’s due pre-diligence might also help, Toad. Fixed it.


  15. Tom Fisher says:

    I’m a little dense. God bless

    And bless you too Ma’am, Don’t worry about being dense, there are worse things.

    What she didn’t realize when she told me of this short route to Hell her priest gave her was that I knew…

    Did you give her a dark and angry stare, like an embittered aunt from Dickens?


  16. toadspittle says:

    Trouble is, Toad’s thick, GC. Can’t understand machinery. Not even wheelbarrows.


  17. ginnyfree says:

    No, actually I didn’t. I managed to keep my jaw from dropping to the floor and smiled the whole time. I guess she thought I was happy for her. She still has two husbands now living and no annulment. She carries the Blessed Sacrament to others who cannot come to Church every week and finds her “ministry” very fulfilling. I think she told me just in case I may have need of her priest for my many husbands or something special in a “penitential route” as was stated above. Ummmmmmmmm……..see anything wrong with this picture yet or do you need your special In-The-Spirit-Of-Vatican-Two glasses to help clear things up a bit? God bless. Ginnyfree.


  18. Tom Fisher says:

    I managed to keep my jaw from dropping to the floor and smiled the whole time.

    Like this?


  19. ginnyfree says:

    Oh Tom Cat! You’re such a pussy cat! LOLOLOLOLOLOL…………….LOLOLOLOL God bless. Ginnyfree.


  20. Tom Fisher says:


    Dear Ginny, I’m glad you didn’t take my teasing too seriously. God bless you too



  21. Tom Fisher says:

    R: Darling can you help me with the wheelbarrow?

    P.G: ‘Fraid not love, it’s too complex. I’m just posting another embedded video via wordress on CP&S. Grab me a glass of Laphroaig when you’re done? I might be in trouble for heresy again


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