14 Notes & Comments

posted Oct 3, 2018, 9:47 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Oct 3, 2018, 9:47 AM ]

The Synod of Bishops


The Synod of Bishops was created by Blessed Paul VI on September 15, 1965 with the Motu Proprio Apostolica Sollicitudo.

On December 8, 1966, the Ordo Synodi Episcoporum celebrandae, and on August 20, 1971 the Ordo Synodi Episcoporum celebrandaerecognitus et auctus were respectively promulgated, whereas a revised edition of the Synodi Episcoporum was published on October 6, 2006.

The Synod of Bishops is a group of bishops who have been chosen from different regions of the world and meet together at fixed times to foster closer unity between the Roman Pontiff and bishops, to assist the Roman Pontiff with their counsel in the preservation and growth of faith and morals, and in the observance and strengthening of ecclesiastical discipline, and to consider questions pertaining to the activity of the Church in the world (can. 342).

It is for the Synod of Bishops to discuss the questions for consideration and express its wishes, but not to resolve them or issue decrees about them, unless, in certain cases, the Roman Pontiff has endowed it with deliberative power, in which case he ratifies the decisions of the Synod (can. 343).

The Synod of Bishops can be assembled in a general session, that is, one which treats matters that directly pertain to the good of the universal Church; such a session is either ordinary or extraordinary. It can also be assembled in a special session, namely, one which considers affairs that directly pertain to a determinate region or regions (can. 345).

The Synod of Bishops was gathered in its First General Assembly from September 29 to October 29, 1967.


Different religious traditions: 'important part of pre-Synod experience'


On October 3, the Synod of Bishops on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment begins. Br Javier Hanson, a Brother of the Christian Schools, was chosen by the US Bishops to participate in the first-ever Pre-Synod Meeting in March, in Rome. Br Javier was assigned to an interfaith group at this meeting and spoke about this experience during the Spring General Assembly of the US Bishops Conference in June.

Br Javier was pleased that he was placed in a group made up of young people from different religious traditions. He recalls two members of his small group in particular. There was a member from India - a Sikh, and there was also a participant from Zimbabwe, who is currently an Anglican minister in England.

From the Sikh, he was impressed on hearing that in order to attract people into their temples, they play music throughout the day.

It made me wonder how we as Catholics might consider how our own churches can be made more available as places of refuge and respite for youth and young adults in our communities.


Extraordinary Missionary Month: Africa remains "mission land"


"Africa is often represented, in an approximate way, as a land of mission, at this stage rooted, ready to export its dynamism of faith to the ancient churches and missionary entities such as the weakened Europe", said Fr Donald Zagore, African theologian, speaking of the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019, announced by Pope Francis.

"In fact, for many, the continent today can, and must, also evangelize Europe, just as in the 1800s Europe did with Africa. But it is also true that Christianity in Africa enjoys an incomparable strength, thanks to the vitality of its churches and its young people, and it is important to recognise that this type of Christianity has considerable limitations that suggest the need for a much more cautious approach," said the missionary.

"The focal point of the question of the presence of Christianity in Africa is the incompatibility between professed faith and lived faith. Our churches are full, but our countries are more and more divided. Injustice, lack of charity, lack of fraternity are part of African existence, and show that the Christian values celebrated in our churches are far from being lived in our cities. The African man seems to be trapped between life inside the Church and life outside the Church. The evangelizing mission must work to reconcile these two 'trends', so that the Christian values celebrated in the Church are also lived at home, in the family, in society.