Holy See Press Office Briefs on Key Points Discussed by Synod of Bishops
The Holy See Press Office held a press briefing on the afternoon of October 16 to unveil the key points deliberated by the Synod of Bishops earlier that morning. This coincided with the 45th anniversary of the election of Pope John Paul II, with the General Assembly commemorating the occasion by discussing topics such as missionary work, religious dialogue, and the role of women in the Church.
During the meeting on October 16, participants of the Synod of Bishops engaged in discussions regarding several issues, including fellowship, diversity, the role of the baptized in the Church, missionary work, ecumenical movement, interreligious dialogue, women’s role in the Church, technological developments, and the challenges faced by youth in impoverished countries. The relevant information was shared with reporters during the press conference held later the same day, according to Vatican News.
The preliminary report of the group discussion was also reviewed during the General Assembly. Paolo Ruffini, head of the Dicastery for Communications and chairman of the Information Committee of the Synod of Bishops, expressed his gratitude to Pope Francis for the Apostolic Exhortation “It is Reliance,” which was issued on October 15. Ruffini also highlighted that the meeting on October 16 coincided with the anniversary of Pope John Paul II’s election and featured the ordination of several members to the priesthood.
Father Vimal Tirimanna, a Sri Lankan theologian and Redemptorist friar, shared his testimony on the spirit of fellowship practiced during the Synod of Bishops. He emphasized that everyone in attendance demonstrated a true sense of fraternity and equality, sitting side by side at a round table with bishops, cardinals, women, and laity. This model of inclusivity was not only Pope Francis’s idea but could be traced back to the Second Vatican Council. Father Tirimanna expressed his hope that this approach would extend beyond the Synod.
Sister Patricia Murray of the Congregation of the Virgin Mary, executive secretary of the International Federation of Religious Superiors, shared her joy at witnessing the implementation of this spirit of fellowship. She emphasized the importance of listening to others and experiencing fellowship, which has been the focus of her congregation for twenty years. Sister Murray acknowledged the representation of all voices during the Synod’s work and stressed the significance of prayer in reflecting on the experiences of others from different countries and cultures.
Auxiliary Bishop Zdenek Wasserbauer of the Diocese of Prague highlighted the recently released Apostolic Exhortation on Saint Teresa the Younger as a guiding compass for the entire Synod of Bishops. He underlined the significance of missionary work and Saint Teresa’s role as the co-patron of the mission. Bishop Wasserbauer drew parallels between Saint Teresa’s desire to save souls and the dedication of all the Synod participants towards the welfare and salvation of others. He also described the Synod as a “light that drives out darkness,” alluding to the challenges faced by the Church in the present time.
When questioned about the discussion of LGBTQ+ individuals’ suffering during the General Assembly, Sister Moualy confirmed that the issue of suffering was indeed discussed within the groups. She explained that there was a deep awareness of the pain caused by the Church and emphasized the Church’s commitment to seeking forgiveness for any harm caused. However, the issue of blessing same-sex couples was not a “core focus” of the conference; instead, the discussions focused more on theological formation, Holy Orders ministry, prioritizing the needs of the poor, and addressing colonialism. Ruffini emphasized that the Synod of Bishops’ actions align with Catholic teaching.
Furthermore, it was confirmed that the bishops from mainland China participating in the meeting would be leaving on October 17 due to pastoral reasons, as they felt compelled to return to their respective dioceses.
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